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June 22 is 18th Anniversary of Landmark Olmstead Decision

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Olmstead v. L.C., in which the Court held that unjustified segregation and institutionalization of individuals with disabilities amounted to a form of discrimination prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiffs in Olmstead, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, each remained confined to a Georgia institution for several years after being deemed appropriate for community-based treatment.

Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that two “evident judgments” were reflected in the Court’s conclusion that the unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities was a form of discrimination. “First, institutional placement of persons who can handle and benefit from community settings perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life. Second, confinement in an institution severely diminishes the everyday life activities, including family relations, social contacts, work options, economic independence, educational advancement, and cultural enrichment.”

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discrimination, institutions, litigation,

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