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US Legal Resource

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY

OF ALABAMA, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. PATRICIA GARRETT, ET AL.

No. 99-1240

_____________________

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

______________________

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY

OF ALABAMA, ET AL., PETITIONERS

v.

PATRICIA GARRETT, ET AL.

____________________

ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI

TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT

_______________

BRIEF FOR THE UNITED STATES

_______________

SETH P. WAXMAN

Solicitor General

Counsel of Record

BILL LANN LEE

Assistant Attorney General

BARBARA D. UNDERWOOD

Deputy Solicitor General

PATRICIA A. MILLETT

Assistant to the Solicitor General

ELIZABETH SAVAGE

JESSICA DUNSAY SILVER

SETH M. GALANTER

Attorneys

Department of Justice

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

(202) 514-2217

 

 

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

Application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to States and their subdivisions falls squarely within Congressís comprehensive legislative power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to prohibit, remedy, and prevent violations of the rights secured by that Amendment. After decades of legislative experience in the field, years of hearings and study, multitudinous submissions and testimonials by citizens across the Nation, and thoroughgoing congressional review, Congress determined that persons with disabilities faced a virulent history of official governmental discrimination, isolation, and segregation. Indeed, this Courtís decisions have long acknowledged the pernicious history of mistreatment and discrimination suffered by persons with disabilities. Congress found, moreover, that, like race and gender discrimination, official segregation and discrimination against persons with disabilities have consequences that persist and have been perpetuated by state and local governmental decisionmaking, across the span of governmental operations.

Congress formulated a statute that, much like federal laws combating racial and gender discrimination, is carefully designed to root out present instances of unconstitutional discrimination, to undo the effects of past discrimination, and to prevent future unconstitutional treatment by prohibiting discrimination and promoting integration where reasonable. At the same time, the Disabilities Act preserves the latitude and flexibility States legitimately require in the administration of their programs and services. The Disabilities Act accomplishes those objectives by requiring States to afford persons with disabilities genuinely equal access to employment opportunities, services, and programs, while at the same time confining the statuteís protections to "qualified individual[s]," who by definition meet all of the Statesí legitimate and essential eligibility requirements. The Act simply requires "reasonable" accommodations for individuals with disabilities that do not impose an undue burden and do not fundamentally alter the nature or character of the governmental program. The statute is thus carefully tailored to prohibit only state conduct that presents a substantial risk of violating the Constitution or that unreasonably perpetuates the exclusionary effects of the prior irrational political, economic, and social segregation of persons with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

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