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Supreme Court: States must obey Disabilities Act

WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2004 -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that states are not immune from requirements to make their courthouses accessible under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, giving a victory to George Lane, who had to crawl up a Tennessee courthouse steps to participate in his own trial. (The case is Tennessee v. Lane, 02-1667.) Ruling today on the 50th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education anti-segregation decision, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that "the unequal treatment of disabled persons in the administration of judicial services has a long history" as well.

"The vision and intent of the ADA clearly was for the States to honor the rights of people with disabilities -- and for money damages to be available when those rights are violated," said ADAWatch's Jim Ward in commenting on the decision, adding that the ruling would "motivate states who are still not in compliance with the ADA to change their policies towards people with disabilities." Read story from Associated Press. | PDF file of the decision


For more background or sources on this topic, contact:

Jim Ward
ADA Watch






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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