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Scorched Earth and Fertile Ground

The Landscape of Suits Against the States to Enforce the ADA

By Rochelle Bobroff

Using an expansive notion of state autonomy under the Eleventh Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist made it difficult for individuals to enforce civil rights, including disability rights, in federal court. The Roberts Court will likely continue this approach. Nonetheless, the Court’s decisions in Tennessee v. Lane and United States v. Georgia and lower courts’ interpretations of those decisions suggest that the Americans with Disabilities Act remains a viable tool to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

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