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Community Integration of Individuals with Disabilities: An Update on Olmstead Implementation
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In June 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in disability rights law, Olmstead v. L.C. The plaintiffs in Olmstead were two women who had mental retardation and mental illness and were confined in a Georgia state psychiatric hospital for years after the state’s professionals determined that they were ready for discharge to a community setting. In a 6-to-3 opinion the Court ruled that unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination prohibited by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. My primary purposes in this article are to review post-Olmstead case law on the boundaries of the Act’s integration mandate and to discuss arguments that defendants commonly raise on matters other than the merits of the claim, such as the applicability of sovereign immunity. I also briefly discuss states’ progress in implementing the integration mandate based on information recently collected in two nationwide surveys. (Author)
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