The Americans with Disabilities Act and Rights to Community Care: Olmstead v. L.C. Page: 3 of 3
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Circuit's holding cannot be underestimated....".3 This brief contended that the eleventh
circuit's opinion had been "relied upon in several lawsuits designed to reshape the manner
in which services (not provided to nondisabled persons) are provided by the states to
individuals with disabilities."4 In addition, the brief argued that the eleventh circuit's
decision has a "profound" impact on the provision of services in various contexts and
would impose a significant cost burden.
Disability advocates have agreed that the decision by the Supreme Court could be
significant but differ on the possible meaning of the decision. An attorney who was
involved in a similar lawsuit in Pennsylvanian was quoted as stating: "This will be the
defining moment for the ADA." He went on to state that "if the Supreme Court rules in
favor of Georgia, the ADA will become a mere shell of what it is intended to be, stripping
away its major civil rights provision - integration."6
The Supreme Court's decision will be only the fourth ADA case decided by the
Court although the Court currently has granted certiorari in four other ADA cases in
addition to Olmstead.8 The decision in Olmstead could be a major ADA decision if the
Supreme Court decides the case on the issues relating to the requirement of integration.
Although the Court could emphasize the limited nature of the eleventh circuit's decision,
it is probably unlikely that it will avoid the issues in this manner. It is somewhat unusual
for the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in a case like Olmstead where there is no conflict
between various judicial circuits and when this occurs, the Supreme Court often reverses
the lower court's decision. Whether this will be the situation in Olmstead remains to be
3 The twenty two states are Florida, Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana,
Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania,
South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
4 Amicus Curiae Brief of the States of Florida, et al., in support of petitioners, On Petition for a
Writ of Certiorari, No. 98-536, at 1. (Bold in original).
s Helen L. v. DiDario, 46 F.3d 325 (3d Cir. 1995), cert. den. sub nom. Pennsylvania Secretary
of Public Welfare v. Idell S., 516 U.S. 813 (1995).
6 Michael Auberger, "Disability Rights Group Says Governors Declare War on Disabled People,"
U.S. Newswire (Dec. 18, 1998).
7 In 1998, the Supreme Court decided three ADA cases: Pennsylvania Department of Prisons v.
Yeskey, _U.S. __, 118 S.Ct. 1952, 141 L.Ed.2d 215 (1998); Bragdon v. Abbott, __U.S._, 118
S.Ct. 2196, 141 L.Ed.2d 40 (1998); Wright v. Universal Maritime Service Corp., _U.S.__, 119
S.Ct. 391, 142 L.Ed.2d 361 (1998).
8 Cleveland v. Policy Mgmt. Systems, __U.S. __, 119 S.Ct. 39; 142 L.Ed. 30 (Oct. 5,
1998)(Whether application for or receipt of disability insurance benefits under the Social Security
Act creates a rebuttable presumption that the applicant or recipient is judicially estopped from
asserting that she is a qualified individual with a disability); Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc.,
__ U.S. _ (January 8, 1999)(Whether petitioner's hypertension should be evaluated in its
unmedicated state); Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc.,_U.S._(January 8, 1999)(When airline
pilot's uncorrected vision is so poor that it constitutes physical impairment under the ADA, is the
pilot nevertheless excluded from protection under the act if her vision can be corrected); Albertson
Inc. v. Kirkingburg, _U.S. _ (January 8, 1999)(Whether an individual with monocular vision
is an individual with a disability under the ADA).
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The Americans with Disabilities Act and Rights to Community Care: Olmstead v. L.C., report, January 25, 1999; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc817303/m1/3/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.