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Title 2 ADA threat lessened; Court may dismiss case

March 7, 2003 -- The state of California filed a formal motion on Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court to withdraw the case Medical Board of California v Hason. Today the Court called off the oral arguments which had been slated for March 25 -- and the case may be dismissed.

March 4, 2003 -- A threat to the Americans with Disabilities Act was averted Friday night when the Medical Board of California voted 14-1 to withdraw its "petition for certiori" to the Supreme Court and ask it not to proceed with Medical Board of California v Hason. The Court was scheduled to hear the case March 25. Disability activists had been pressing public officials to drop the case. On Thurs., Gov. Gray Davis wrote to the board asking it to withdraw the appeal, calling the ADA "a cornerstone of our nation's civil rights protections." Read letter.

"The disability community in California has made history," says organizer HolLynn D'Lil, who spearheaded the opposition. Disability activists turned out in force at all 4 meeting sites where the medical board was meeting to vote on the issue. The sites were hooked to each other by teleconference.

Activists began mobilizing to get the state to drop the case months ago, pressuring public officials. In a letter sent Feb. 21 to the director of the state medical board, Calif. Atty Gen. Bill Lockyer urges the group to withdraw the case. "It is my belief as Attorney General that the greater public interest of the State of California would be furthered by a withdrawal of the petition for certiorari in this matter," he wrote. Read letter.

Disability advocates nationwide were worried about the effect of a Supreme Court ruling in this TItle 2 ADA case. The Supreme Court agreed to take the case in order to rule on the constitutionality of Title 2 of the ADA. Title 2 relates to public services. In a letter that same day to the board, Calif. Health and Human services Agency Sec. Grantland Johnson and Calif. Rehab Dept. Director Dr. Catherine Campisi wrote that "the pending appeal threatens the protections afforded by Title 2," and that it "would undermine the progress the nation has made in disability public policy."

The move by the state to withdraw its appeal is highly unusual, say court experts, and say the state will still have to move for dismissal of the case in order for it not to proceed at the Supreme Court level.

Read "State drops disability case" from The San Francisco Chronicle

Read story on Ragged Edge magazine website



For more background or sources on this topic, contact contact Jim Ward






Expert sources

From the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers:

Historical Context of the ADA

ADA definition of disability

Overview of law's structure

The ADA is changing the landscape of America -- commentary

"The ADA changed my life" -- personal stories

The meaning of "disability" under ADA

"A misunderstood law" -- commentary

The ADA Notification Act

Supreme Court ADA decisions:

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