Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Supreme Court Ruling Is A Step In The Right Direction
June 1, 2004

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA--Sunday's New York Times Magazine ran a brief article by disability rights advocate Harriet McBryde Johnson about the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee v. Lane.

On May 17, the court ruled that individuals could use the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act to sue states that do not make court houses accessible.

Weary from a series of Supreme Court decisions in recent years that limited the scope of the ADA, advocates called the 5-4 decision a victory.

"People with disabilities count it as a victory when rights simply aren't rolled back as far as they might have been," Johnson wrote.

"As a lawyer in a power wheelchair, I cannot take access for granted. I cannot even assume others have a basic comprehension of how I move around in the world," she continued.

"Because I cannot walk, crawl or safely be carried, even one step keeps me out as surely as would a sign saying 'No cripples allowed.'"

"People often offer to carry me, as if the offer itself discharges any duty to remove the unnecessary barriers in my way. When I decline to be carried, I am made to feel ungracious. Beyond that, I am rendered unable to do for myself and my community."

Entire article:
"Stairway to Justice" by Harriet McBryde Johnson (New York Times Magazine -- requires free registration)
"Struggle For An Elevator" (Hartford Courant -- requires free registration)
"Tennessee v. Lane Et Al." (U.S. Supreme Court)  [PDF format -- requires Adobe Acrobat Reader]
"High Court Upholds Access To State Courts: State of Tennessee v. Lane et al" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.