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More MS news articles for May 2004

Supreme Court Upholds Disability Rights Under ADA Case

May 2004
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society


In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the rights of people with disabilities to sue states for monetary damages for certain violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Society previously joined other patient and disability organizations in a “friends of the court” (amicus curae) brief. This brief supported George Lane and Beverly Jones’ case against the state of Tennessee for violations of the ADA. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by state and local government agencies. The Plaintiffs sued Tennessee for failing to ensure that courthouses were accessible to individuals with disabilities. At issue was whether Congress had the constitutional authority to require states to pay monetary damages for Title II violations. A Court ruling suggesting that Congress did not have the power to apply many of the core provisions of the ADA to state and local governments could have further eroded ADA protections. The Court appeared to limit its ruling to the fairly narrow sphere of courthouses and court services, but disability advocates believe the rationale could be used to allow private suits on other grounds.

Copyright © 2004, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society