June 22nd marked the 22nd anniversary of the Olmstead Supreme Court ruling against LC. The judgment found that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities have a qualified right to government-funded assistance and services in the community rather than in an institution, and that those services are in the “least restrictive” and “most integrated” settings . “
The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lois Curtis (LC) and Elaine Wilson after the two women were moved to and from Georgia’s mental hospitals when a lack of home services left them no other place to survive. When the lawsuit found its way to the Supreme Court, the majority ruled that “the state isolated them by admitting them to hospital, asking them to live with others with disabilities”.
When the ADA was signed in 1990, Congress added evidence that “society in the past has tended to isolate and segregate people with disabilities, and despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against people with disabilities continue to exist serious and ubiquitous social “problem.” Unfortunately, as with many civil rights laws, discrimination persists.
A proactive approach by states is the establishment of advocacy offices within the executive branch. Such a law was passed in the previous session in New York and is awaiting review by Governor Andrew Cuomo. I hope he has the foresight of his father, who created the architecture for the office that has yet to be financed or strengthened.
for barrier-free living
City of Ulster, NY
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