Eighteen years ago I had the privilege of representing the respondents before the Supreme Court in the case of Olmstead v. L.C. That case recognized a fundamental principle of equality for Disabled Americans: that they have the right to live in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. In the nearly two decades that have followed, however, the integration promise of Olmstead has remained unfulfilled for many. Millions of Americans with disabilities and seniors today are given no choice but institutionalization when their service needs reach a certain point.
That is why I am proud to support the Disability Integration Act (S.910/H.R.2472). This important civil rights bill picks up where Olmstead left off. It enshrines in Federal statute the right to live in the community which Olmstead recognized. It gives people with disabilities and seniors the right to demand that states and insurers remove the obstacles which stand in the way of their integration. It takes what disability advocates have learned in working for integration in the past eighteen years and gives disability advocates another and a more powerful tool to effect that integration.
I have written a sign-on letter to Congress in support of this critically important piece of legislation, which I have attached to this email. I strongly encourage you to support this bill by signing on to the attached letter in order to distribute it to Congress. You can sign on at this link: http://cdrnys.org/disability-integration-act-supporter-form/
It’s time to FREE OUR PEOPLE!
Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Minority Leader Pelosi,
We, the undersigned disability rights attorneys, represent a significant cross-section of disability advocates. We have among us, and in some cases individually, decades of experience advocating for the independence and equality of people with disabilities. We are writing in support of the Disability Integration Act, re-introduced in this Congress as S. 910 and H.R. 2472. This important, bipartisan civil rights legislation secures for Americans with disabilities and seniors the Constitutional right to liberty which is promised to all Americans.
The Disability Integration Act builds on the Supreme Court’s 1999 decision Olmstead v. L.C., but more than a quarter century after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and eighteen years after Olmstead, unwanted institutionalization continues to be a serious problem for people with disabilities and seniors. This issue was documented in the HELP Committee report: “Separate and Unequal: States Fail to Fulfill the Community Living Promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act”. That report recommended that Congress amend the ADA to clarify and strengthen the law’s integration mandate in a manner that accelerates Olmstead implementation and clarifies that every individual who is eligible for LTSS under Medicaid has a federally protected right to a real choice in how they receive services and supports. The report and this recommendation were well received by the Disability Community.
Although the Disability Integration Act does not amend the ADA, the legislation, modeled on the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act, strengthens Olmstead’s integration mandate and creates federal civil rights law which addresses the civil rights issue that people with disabilities who are stuck in institutions cannot benefit from many of the rights established under the ADA. It not only enshrines in Federal statute the right to live in the community which Olmstead recognized, it takes what disability advocates have learned over the past eighteen years and creates another more powerful tool to effect the integration of people with disabilities.
We call on you as members of Congress to pass the Disability Integration Act and to call for the President to sign it into law.
Steve Gold, JD.
Prof. Samuel Bagenstos, JD. - Frank G. Millard Professor of Law at the University of Michagan (Previously Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice)
Alison Barkoff, J.D. - Director of Advocacy, Center for Public Representation (previously Special Counsel for Olmstead Enforcement at the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division)
Curtis L. Decker, JD. - Executive Director of the National Disability Rights Network
Vanita Gupta, JD. - CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (previously Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division)
Jennifer Mathis, JD. - Deputy Legal Director and Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Silvia Yee, Esq. - Senior Staff Attorney, Disabilty Rights Education and Defense Fund
James Weisman, Esq. - President & CEO United Spinal Association
- A. Adam Prizio, Esq. - Center for Disability Rights
- A.J. Ruben, Esq. - Disability Rights Vermont
- Amy Phalon, Esq. - Murray Plumb & Murray
- Amy Robertson, Esq. - Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
- Andrew Milne, Esq. - Disability Rights Center - NH
- Anne Kuhns, Esq. - Georgia Advocacy Office
- Ariel Linet, Esq. - Disability Rights Maine
- Barry C. Taylor, J.D. - Equip for Equality
- Ben Sahl, Esq. - Disability Rights Center - New Hampshire
- Brandi L. Studer, MSW, JD - Disability Rights Center of Kansas
- Caitlin Parton, Esq. - Disability Law Center
- Christine Griffin, Esq. - Disability Law Center
- Christopher Knauf, Esq. - Knauf Associates
- Corye Dunn, Esq. - Disability Rights NC
- David A. Kahne, Esq. - Law Office of David A. Kahne
- David C. Fleurant, Esq. - Disability Law Center of Alaska
- David Cohen, Esq. - Disability Rights Center Of Kansas
- David Gates, Esq.
- Denise Quigley, Esq. - Georgia Advocacy Office
- Dennis Heaphy, - Disability Policy Consortium
- Devon Orland, Esq. - Georgia Advocacy Office
- Diane Coleman, J.D. - Not Dead Yet
- Dolores Vinson, Ms
- Edward L. Myers, Esq.
- Ellen Hahn, Esq. - Retired
- Eric A. Evans, Ph.D. - Disability Rights Nebraska
- Frank J. Laski, Esq.
- Gloria Prevost, Executive Director - Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (SC)
- Gretchen Knauff, Executive Director - Disability Rights Connecticut
- Howard A. Rosenblum, Esq. - National Association of the Deaf
- Jane A. Moore, J.D. - Disability Rights Maine
- Jane Hudson, J.D. - Disability Rights Iowa
- Jasmine E. Harris, Acting Professor of Law - UC Davis School of Law
- Jo Anne Simon, Esq. - Jo Anne Simon, P.C.
- Joseph Young, Esq. - Disability Rights New Jersey
- Judith Abbott Gran, Esq. - Reisman Carolla Gran LLP
- Julia M. Brown, Esq. - Disability Rights Maine
- Julie Kegley, Esq. - Georgia Advocacy Office
- Katherine Hunt Thomas, Esq. - Ability Center of Greater Toledo
- Kathleen M. Flaherty, Esq. - Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc.
- Kathryn Carroll, Esq. - Center for Disability Rights
- Kay Marilyn Kenton, J.D.
- Kevin M. Cremin, Esq. - Mobilization for Justice
- Kevin W. Williams, Esq. - Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
- Kim Moody, Executive Director - Disability Rights Maine
- Kip Elliot, Esq. - Disability Rights Center of Kansas
- Kirk W. Lowry, J.D. - Connecticut Legal Rights Project
- Kristin L. Aiello, Esq. - Disability Rights Maine
- Lane Williams, J.D. - Disability Rights Center Of KS
- Laura J. Waterland, Esq. - Disabilities Law Program of Community Legal Aid Society
- Lauren Wille, Esq. - Disability Rights Maine
- LAWRENCE D BERGER, Esq. - Reisman Carolla Gran LLP
- Lee Awbrey, Esq.
- Leslie Lipson, Esq. - Georgia Advocacy Office
- Lourdes I. Rosa-Carrasquillo, Esq. - The Center for Independence of the Disabled--NY
- Maisha Elonai, Esq. - Liberty Resources, Inc.
- Maria Michelle Uzeta, Esq. - Law Office of Michelle Uzeta
- Marjorie Rifkin, Esq. - Disability Rights DC
- Mary Anne Harvey, Executive Director - Disability Law Colorado
- Mary J. Goodwin-Oquendo, Esq. - Jo Anne Simon PC
- Mary M. McKenzie, Esq. - Public Interest Law Center
- Meghan Marsh, Esq. - Disability Rights Maryland
- Michael Churchill, Esq. - Public Interest Law Center
- Michael Gilberg, Esq.
- Michael Schwartz, Esq.
- Michael W. Thornton, Esq.
- Nancy B. Alisberg, Legal Director - Disability Rights Connecticut
- Nell Brimmer, Esq. - Disability Rights Maine
- PATRICIA BARBOSA, Esq. - Barbosa Group
- Peri Jude Radecic, Esq. - Disability Rights Pennsylvania
- Peter M. Rice, Esq., Legal Director - Disability Rights Maine
- Richard LaVallo, Esq. - Disability Rights Texas
- Ruby Moore, Esq. - The Georgia Advocacy Office
- Ruslan D. Ivanov, Esq. - Disability Rights Center of Kansas
- Sally R. Zanger, Attorney at Law - Connecticut Legal Rights Project
- Samantha Crane, Esq. - Autistic Self Advocacy Network
- Sarah W. Mitchell, J.D. - Disability Advocate/Consultant
- Sean Pevsner, Esq. - Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC
- Staci K. Converse, Esq. - Disability Rights Maine
- Stephanie Woodward, Esq.
- Stephen Feldman, Esq.
- Susan Given, Executive Director - Disability Rights of West Virginia
- Susan Stefan, Esq.
- Therese Yanan, Esq. - Native American Disability Law Center, Inc.
- Thomas H. Earle, Esq. - Disability Rights Practice
- Tom Masseau, Executive Director - Disability Rights Arkansas
- Travis W. England, Esq. - National Center for Law and Economic Justice
- Virginia Knowlton Marcus, Director of Legal Advocacy - Disability Rights California
- Virginia M. Teixeira, Esq. - Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc.