Case Summary Importance Attorney Others Involved
314 U.S. 160 (1941)
Decided: Nov 24, 1941
A statute of California making it a misdemeanor for anyone knowingly to bring or assist in bringing into the State a nonresident "indigent person" held invalid as an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.
From Marie A. Failinger, The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases, University of Michigan Press, 2016: “Edwards is rich with significance for the circuitous doctrinal path of the constitutional right to travel, which has been thoroughly analyzed by many scholars. Here, I mean not to retrace those doctrinal steps but to suggest a different, additional enduring importance of the case. Edwards rejected a century of case law (which itself drew on hundreds of years of British common law and statutes) that affirmed states’ police power to exclude “paupers, vagrants, and convicts” and reiterated that paupers were a “moral pestilence.” “Edwards thus marks a critical step in the journey of the most indigent Americans to citizenship. Although it would take decades more for the poor to approach real citizenship and for states to revise or repeal settlement and residence laws, prohibitions on voting or marrying, vagrancy laws, and other repressive measures against the poor, after Edwards, the term “pauper” evolved into what it is today: a mere synonym, albeit an antiquated one, for an indigent. Edwards is the case, therefore, that transformed the poorest Americans from “paupers” — a distinct legal category of those subject to universal opprobrium and with little claim to rights — into people.”
Mr. Samuel Slaff, of New York City, for appellant. (Neighborhood Legal Services of DC)
Mr. John H. Tolan, of Oakland, Cal., for the Select Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States, appointed pursuant to House Resolution No. 63, April 22, 1940, to investigate Interstate Migration of Destitute Citizens, as amicus curiae by special leave of Court.
372 U.S. 335
Decided: Mar 18, 1963
Landmark unanimous ruling that states are required under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to provide an attorney to defendants in criminal cases who are unable to afford their own.
The case extended the right to counsel, which had been found under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to impose requirements on the federal government, by imposing those requirements upon the states as well. Martin Kelly, “The Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases”, ThoughtCo, 2019: “Significance of Gideon v. Wainwright: Gideon v. Wainwright overruled the previous decision of Betts v. Brady (1942). In this case, Smith Betts, a farm worker in Maryland had asked for counsel to represent him for a robbery case. Just as with Gideon, this right was denied him because the state of Maryland would not provide attorneys except in capital case. [In Betts], [t]he Supreme Court decided by a 6-3 decision that a right to an appointed counsel was not required in all cases in order for an individual to receive a fair trial and due process in state trials. It was basically left up to each state to decide when it would provide public counsel. Justice Hugo Black dissented and wrote the opinion that if you were indigent you had an increased chance of conviction. “In Gideon, the court stated that the right to an attorney was a fundamental right for a fair trial. They stated that due to the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, all states would be required to provide counsel in criminal cases. This significant case created the need for additional public defenders. Programs were developed in states around the country to help recruit and train public defenders. Today, the number of cases defended by public defenders is huge. For example, in 2011 in Miami Dade County, the largest of the 20 Florida Circuit Courts, approximately 100,000 cases were assigned to Public Defenders.”
Abe Fortas, by appointment of the Court, 370 U.S. 932 , argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief were Abe Krash and Ralph Temple. Abe Fortas was a Washington, D.C. attorney and future Supreme Court justice.
J. Lee Rankin, by special leave of Court, argued the cause for the American Civil Liberties Union et al., as amici curiae, urging reversal. With him on the brief were Norman Dorsen, John Dwight Evans, Jr., Melvin L. Wulf, Richard J. Medalie, Howard W. Dixon and Richard Yale Feder. A brief for the state governments of twenty-two States and Commonwealths, as amici curiae, urging reversal, was filed by Edward J. McCormack, Jr., Attorney General of Massachusetts, Walter F. Mondale, Attorney General of Minnesota, Duke W. Dunbar, Attorney General of Colorado, Albert L. Coles, Attorney General of Connecticut, Eugene Cook, Attorney General of Georgia, Shiro Kashiwa, Attorney General of Hawaii, Frank Benson, Attorney General of Idaho, William G. Clark, Attorney General of Illinois, Evan L. Hultman, Attorney General of Iowa, John B. Breckinridge, Attorney General of Kentucky, Frank E. Hancock, Attorney General of Maine, Frank J. Kelley, Attorney General of Michigan, Thomas F. Eagleton, Attorney General of Missouri, Charles E. Springer, Attorney General of Nevada, Mark McElroy, Attorney General of Ohio, Leslie R. Burgum, Attorney General of North Dakota, Robert Y. Thornton, Attorney General of Oregon, J. Joseph Nugent, Attorney General of Rhode Island, A. C. Miller, Attorney General of South Dakota, John J. O’Connell, Attorney General of Washington, C. Donald Robertson, Attorney General of West Virginia, and George N. Hayes, Attorney General of Alaska. Robert Y. Thornton, Attorney General of Oregon, and Harold W. Adams, Assistant Attorney General, filed a separate brief for the State of Oregon, as amicus curiae.
373 U.S. 83 (1963)
Decided: May 13, 1963
Suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused who has requested it violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.
From Wikipedia: Brady was given a new hearing, where his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Brady was ultimately paroled. He moved to Florida, where he worked as a truck driver, started a family and did not re-offend. Police officers who have been dishonest are sometimes referred to as “Brady cops”. Because of the Brady ruling, prosecutors are required to notify defendants and their attorneys whenever a law enforcement official involved in their case has a confirmed record of knowingly lying in an official capacity. Brady has become not only a matter of defendants’ due process trial rights, but also of police officers’ due process employment rights. Officers and their unions have used litigation, legislation, and informal political pressure to push back on Brady’s application to their personnel files. This conflict over Brady’s application has split the prosecution team, pitting prosecutors against police officers, and police management against police labor. Brady evidence also includes evidence material to credibility of a civilian witness, such as evidence of false statements by the witness or evidence that a witness was paid to act as an informant. In United States v. Bagley (1985), the Court narrowed the reach of Brady by stating the suppressed evidence had to be “exculpatory” and “material” for a violation to result in the reversal of a conviction. Harry Blackmun wrote in Bagley that “only if there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different. A ‘reasonable probability’ is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.”
E. Clinton Bamberger, Jr. argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief was John Martin Jones, Jr. More about Clinton Bamberger: https://legalaidhistory.org/item/clinton-bamberger-life/
350 F.2d 445 (D.C. Cir. 1965)
Decided: Aug 11, 1965
Where the element of unconscionability is present at the time a contract is made, the contract should not be enforced. The case is remanded to the lower court to determine whether the contract was unconscionable.
Anne Fleming, “Remaking the ‘Law of the Poor’: Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co.”, in “The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases”, edited by Failinger & Rosser, University of Michigan Press, 2016: “From Watts to Washington, debt collection lawsuits were commonplace for poor families buying on credit in America’s cities. They often ended in the loss of the household’s furniture or the garnishment of the breadwinner’s wages. …. With the aid of a volunteer lawyer, Williams contested the store’s right to seize all her purchases. Both the trial judge and the intermediate appellate court ruled in favor of the store…. In 1965… [at] the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit… the case took an unexpected turn. Judge Skelly Wright of the D.C. Circuit handed down his soon-to-be-famous opinion in the case…. Wright declared that courts in the District would not enforce a contract if the bargain was ‘unconscionable,’ meaning that there was ‘an absence of meaningful choice’ for one party along with ‘terms which are unreasonably favorable to the other party.’ Wright found that the store’s contract with Williams was potentially ‘unconscionable’ and therefore unenforceable. He remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. The decision was among of the first in the country to apply the doctrine of unconscionability. Judge Wright later predicted that the doctrine would be part of ‘a growing area of the law — the law of the poor.'” Wikipedia: “As a staple of first-year law school contract law courses, it has been briefed extensively. It is also used as a case study in some modern economics classes.”
Mr. Pierre E. Dostert, Washington, D. C., counsel for appellants in No. 18,605, argued for all appellants. Mr. R. R. Curry, Washington, D. C., for appellant in No. 18,604.
Mr. Gerhard P. Van Arkel (appointed by this court), Washington, D. C., as amicus curiae.
384 U.S. 436 (1966)
Decided: Jun 13, 1966
Under the Fifth Amendment, any statements that a defendant in custody makes during an interrogation are admissible as evidence at a criminal trial only if law enforcement told the defendant of the right to remain silent and the right to speak with an attorney before the interrogation started, and the rights were either exercised or waived in a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent manner.
From Justia: The decision was widely attacked at the time for giving criminals extra ways to unfairly escape prosecution. Congress attempted to override it by introducing a law that imposed the totality of the circumstances test supported by Clark, but federal prosecutors did not actually use that law to justify introducing evidence. However, later decisions have restricted some of Miranda’s applications, for example by clarifying that the suspect must clearly and affirmatively assert any of these rights upon receiving the warnings in order to validly exercise them. Courts also have crafted a distinction between confessions and spontaneous statements by defendants, which may be admissible at trial even if Miranda warnings have not been provided, and limits have been placed on the meaning of “custody,” which is the only situation in which the warnings apply. On the other hand, courts have held that waiving Miranda rights is effective only if it is voluntary, knowing, and intelligent, providing defense attorneys with grounds on which to challenge evidence introduced based on waivers. Ironically, while the case had sweeping effects on the American criminal justice system, it had very little impact on Miranda’s own situation. He was retried for the crimes with the use of other evidence and again sentenced to 20-30 years, although he was released five years later on parole. A minor local celebrity, he autographed the “Miranda cards” that police officers in Phoenix (as in many other cities across the country) used to verify that they had provided proper warnings to suspects. Miranda was eventually killed in an incident that police never resolved, due in part to a suspect exercising his Miranda right to silence.
John J. Flynn argued the cause for petitioner in No.759. With him on the brief was John P. Frank. Victor M. Earle III argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner in No. 760. F. Conger Fawcett argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner in No. 761. Gordon Ringer, Deputy Attorney General of California, argued the cause for petitioner in No. 584. With him on the briefs were Thomas C. Lynch, Attorney General, and William E. James, Assistant Attorney General.
Anthony G. Amsterdai, Paul J. Mishkin, Raymond L.Bradley, Peter Hearn and Melvin L. Wulf filed a brief for the American Civil Liberties Union, as amicus curiae, in all cases.
387 U.S. 1 (1967)
Decided: May 15, 1967
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to juvenile defendants as well as adult defendants.
From law.jrrank.com: “In re Gault was an important part of the ‘due process revolution’ that took place during the 1960s, during which many of the rights guaranteed by the first ten amendments to the Constitution–the Bill of Rights–were seen to apply at the state as well as the federal level. From the beginning of the twentieth century, juvenile defenders had been subjected to parens patriae, that is, a paternalistic, ostensibly protective attitude towards unruly children. As a result, an entirely separate juvenile justice system had developed. Aiming for flexibility and informality, too often this system resulted in a failure of due process for the defendants who were subjected to it. The Supreme Court first addressed this problem in Kent v. United States (1966), in which the legal process for juvenile offenders–who were often handed lengthy sentences in informal proceedings where they were deprived of due process guarantees–faced what the Court called ‘the worst of both worlds.'”
Norman Dorsen argued the cause for appellants. With him on the brief were Melvin L. Wulf, Amelia D. Lewis and Daniel A. Rezneck. (American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU)
Briefs of amici curiae, urging reversal, were filed by L. Michael Getty, James J. Doherty and Marshall J. Hartman for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and by Edward Q. Carr, Jr., and Nanette Dembitz for the Legal Aid Society and Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc. Nicholas N. Kittrie filed a brief for the American Parents Committee, as amicus curiae.
392 U.S. 309 (1968)
Decided: Jun 17, 1968
AFDC cannot be withheld because of the presence of a "substitute father" who visited a family on weekends. The issue before the US Supreme Court involved how the states could determine how to implement a federal program. The court used the term "co-operative federalism."
Led to the enforcement of federal statutory law not only in the legal welfare area but also, until recently, set the framework for enforcement of federal law across the board. Henry Freedman, “Sylvester Smith: Unlikely Heroine: King v. Smith”, in “The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases”, edited by Failinger & Rosser, University of Michigan Press, 2016: “Sylvester Smith, a 34- year- old Selma, Alabama, African American widow with four children, was unaware of a press conference held in Washington, D.C., in February 1966. At that conference, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund lawyers urged the federal government to stop state welfare agencies from refusing to help children of a woman who had a steady male friend: The needy mother without a husband is caught in an impossible dilemma . She may try to conduct a secret relationship, endanger her grant, and live as if she were a criminal, or she may abandon her effort to develop male friendships altogether, or she may strip herself of every last vestige of dignity by reporting constantly on the intimacies of her friendship. Edward Sparer, who had just founded the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law (now the National Center for Law and Economic Justice), said this was “one of the most important and most significant issues in welfare.” A few months later, Sylvester Smith’s battle to keep her benefits launched a struggle that went to the Supreme Court, revolutionized our understanding of the welfare law, and resulted in hundreds of thousands of poor families getting desperately needed help.”
Martin Garbus (American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU) argued the cause and filed a brief for appellees.
Briefs of amici curiae, urging affirmance, were filed by Jack Greenberg, James M. Nabrit III, Leroy D. Clark, and Charles Stephen Ralston for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., et al., and by Helen L. Buttenwieser and Ephraim London for the Child Welfare League of America, Inc., et al
394 U.S. 618 (1969)
Decided: Apr 21, 1969
Absent a compelling state interest, state laws that impose residency requirements to obtain welfare assistance violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment. Such laws also violate the constitutional right to travel by inhibiting migration by needy persons into the state.
Sheldon Goldman, Oxford Reference: “This decision provided a precedent for successful attacks on other residency requirements such as those for voting and for practicing law. The impact of the decision on the poor was considerable and as a result, many thousands received welfare assistance who otherwise would not have received it.” Elisa Minoff, “Legal Services Attorneys and Migrant Advocates Join Forces: Shapiro v. Thompson”, in “The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases”, edited by Failinger & Rosser, University of Michigan Press, 2016: “Durational residence requirements had made life difficult for poor people on the move since the colonial era. Descended from Elizabethan- era poor laws that required ‘settlement’ in a community in order to be eligible for relief, residence requirements limited public assistance to those who had lived in a state or locality for the length of time stipulated by the state’s statute, often one year…. Shapiro v. Thompson was very much of its moment. It was made possible by the new federal funding disbursed by the Office of Economic Opportunity as part of the War on Poverty and by the law review articles, conferences, strategy-focused ‘back up centers,’ and storefront legal services offices that funding supported. When the Supreme Court held residence requirements unconstitutional in 1969, the decision quickly became a landmark in the new area of social welfare law. Many contemporaries saw it as a step toward establishing a right to welfare. But Shapiro v. Thompson was not just about welfare and welfare rights. It was also about migration and the right to move.”
Archibald Cox argued the cause for appellees in all three cases on the reargument. With him on the brief were Peter S. Smith and Howard Lesnick (Neighborhood Legal Services of DC). Brian L. Hollander argued the cause pro hac vice for appellee in No. 9 on the original argument. With him on the brief were Norman Dorsen and William D. Graham. Mr. Smith argued the cause for appellees in No. 33 on the original argument. With him on the brief were Joel J. Rabin, Jonathan Weiss, and Joseph F. Dugan. Thomas K. Gilhool (Community Legal Services, Philadelphia) argued the cause pro hac vice for appellees in No. 34 on the original argument. With him on the brief were Harvey N. Schmidt, Paul Bender, and Mr. Lesnick.
Briefs of amici curiae in support of appellee in No. 9 were filed by Arthur L. Schiff for Bexar County Legal Aid Association; by Eugene M. Swann for the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County; and by A. L. Wirin, Fred Okrand, Laurence R. Sperber, and Melvin L. Wulf for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. Brief of amicus curiae in support of appellees in No. 33 was filed by John F. Nagle for the National Federation of the Blind. Briefs of amici curiae in support of appellees in all three cases were filed by J. Lee Rankin and Stanley Buchsbaum for the City of New York; by Joseph B. Robison, Carlos Israels, and Carl Rachlin for the American Jewish Congress et al.; and by Charles L. Hellman and Leah Marks for the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law et al.
397 U.S. 254 (1970)
Decided: Mar 23, 1970
The Due Process Clause provides the right to a full hearing before welfare benefits are terminated.
Perhaps the greatest victory. Led to the due process revolution. Goldberg required the government to follow due process when seeking to terminate benefits. Melanie B. Abbott, “Dignity and Passion Goldberg v. Kelly” in “The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases”, edited by Failinger & Rosser, University of Michigan Press, 2016: “The barriers confronting Kelly and his fellow plaintiffs were in no way unique; the plaintiffs represented hundreds, even thousands of others who had fought similar battles simply to survive in the city. A snapshot of the welfare picture in 1967– 68 reveals that the city’s welfare rolls were increasing at the rate of 14,000 people per month in early 1968.”
Lee A. Albert (Center for Social Welfare Policy and Law) argued the cause for appellees. With him on the brief were Robert Borsody, Martin Garbus, and David Diamond (Mobilization for Youth Legal Services).
A brief of amicus curiae was filed by Victor G. Rosenblum and Daniel Wm. Fessler for the National Institute for Education in Law and Poverty.
428 F.2d 1071 D.C. Cir., denied cert. 400 U.S. 925 (1970)
Decided: May 7, 1970
The court determined that if the premises become uninhabitable, the tenant is freed from their obligation to pay rent. SCOTUS affirmed.
Arguably the most influential landlord-tenant case of the twentieth century. First established the doctrine of implied warranty of habitability in landlord–tenant law. This doctrine is also the major rule, reflected in the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, and is the rule of the Restatement of American Law of Property. For “urban dwelling units”, the opinion set aside the “old doctrines” of landlord-tenant law based on agrarian feudal property law, and embraced a modern approach to leases which considers them contracts landlords and tenants.
Mr. Edmund E. Fleming, Boston, Mass., for appellants. Neighborhood Legal Services Program of Washington DC.
Mrs. Caryl S. Terry, Washington, D. C., filed a brief on behalf of Washington Planning and Housing Association as amicus curiae urging reversal. Mrs. Margaret F. Ewing, Mrs. Florence Wagman Roisman and Mrs. Patricia M. Wald, Washington, D.C., filed a brief on behalf of Neighborhood Legal Services Program as amicus curiae urging reversal. Messrs. Myron Moskovitz and Peter Honigsberg filed a brief on behalf of National Housing Law Project as amicus curiae urging reversal.
407 U.S. 25 (1972)
Decided: Jun 12, 1972
An indigent criminal defendant cannot be subjected to actual imprisonment unless provided with counsel. Specifically, the right to counsel applies if the defendant could actually be imprisoned, even for so-called petty offenses where no jury trial is required or the sentence would be less than six months.
From jrank.org (https://law.jrank.org/pages/23841/Argersinger-v-Hamlin-Significance.html): “The Florida court had based its decision on a U.S. Supreme Court case, Duncan v. Louisiana (1968), in which the Court had ruled that the right to a court-appointed attorney only extended to indigent defendants charged with non-petty offenses punishable by more than 6 months imprisonment. The issue in Duncan had been the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury, so now the Court turned to another precedent, Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), to address the issue of incarceration of criminal defendants without representation. The holding there–that indigent defendants in felony cases have a right to appointed counsel–was now extended to include misdemeanor defendants facing prison sentences. As Justice Douglas wrote for the Court: ‘We hold, therefore, that absent a knowing and intelligent waiver, no person may be imprisoned for any offense, whether classified as petty, misdemeanor, or felony, unless he was represented by counsel at his trial.'”
Bruce S. Rogow (Greater Miami Legal Services) argued the cause for petitioner on the reargument and J. Michael Shea argued the cause pro hac vice on the original argument. With them on the brief was P. A. Hubbart.
Solicitor General Griswold argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae on the reargument urging reversal. With him on the brief were Assistant Attorney General Petersen, Deputy Solicitor General Greenawalt, Harry R. Sachse, Beatrice Rosenberg, and Sidney M. Glazer. Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed by William E. Hellerstein for the Legal Aid Society of New York, and by Marshall J. Hartman for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
457 U.S. 202 (1982)
Decided: Jun 15, 1982
Under the Equal Protection Clause, the Court struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented immigrant children and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each student to compensate for lost state funding. (Two cases bundled together.)
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU, “School Is For Everyone: Celebrating Plyler v. Doe”, June 11, 2012. aclu.org: “Plyler’s importance today cannot be understated. As Linda Greenhouse observed in the New York Times, but for Plyler, ‘public school systems all over the country would be checking papers and tossing away their undocumented students like so much playground litter.’… “Plyler has also set the stage for today’s battles over higher education, as immigrant youth fight to defend their ability to enroll in colleges and university; access in-state tuition and scholarships and financial aid; and secure passage of the DREAM Act’s path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the United States as children and graduate from high school. “But Plyler’s legacy extends beyond the classroom. Plyler—like many Supreme Court decisions before it—is also crucial today for its recognition that due process and equal protection apply to everyone in America….”
Peter D. Roos (Harvard Center for Law and Education) argued the cause for appellees in No. 80-1538. With him on the brief were Larry Daves and Vilma S. Martinez. Peter A. Schey (Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, LAFLA) argued the cause for appellees in No. 80-1934. With him on the briefs were Al Campos, Larry Mealer, and Jane Swanson.
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance in both cases were filed by James J. Orlow for the American Immigration Lawyers Association; by Samuel Rabinove for the American Jewish Committee; by Bill Lann Lee for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; by the Edgewood Independent School District; by Peter B. Sandmann for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco; by Michael K. Suarez for the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston; by Robert J. Kenney, Jr., for the National Education Association et al.; by Fred Fuchs for Texas Impact; and by Daniel Marcus and John F. Cooney for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law et al. Thomas M. Griffin filed a brief for the California State Board of Education as amicus curiae urging affirmance in No. 80-1538. Briefs of amici curiae in No. 80-1934 were filed by Joyce D. Miller for the American Friends Service Committee et al.; and by Gwendolyn H. [457 U.S. 202, 205] Gregory, Thomas A. Shannon, and August W. Steinhilber for the National School Boards Association.
493 U.S. 521 (1990)
Decided: Feb 20, 1990
The regulations governing eligiblity for child disability issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services are inconsistent with the statutory standard of comparable severity. Children are not given the same opportunity as adults to show their functional impairment in the late states of the determination process.
Because of this case, hundreds of thousands of families with disabled children now receive Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Richard P. Weishaupt argued the cause for respondents. With him on the briefs were Jonathan M. Stein and Thomas D. Sutton. (Community Legal Services, Philadelphia)
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. by James M. Shannon, Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Suzanne E. Durrell and Judith Fabricant, Assistant Attorneys General, Don Siegelman, Attorney General of Alabama, Douglas B. Baily, Attorney General of Alaska, Robert K. Corbin, Attorney General of Arizona, John Steven Clark, Attorney General of Arkansas, Clarine Nardi Riddle, Acting Attorney General of Connecticut, Charles M. Oberly III, Attorney General of Delaware, Herbert O. Reid, Sr., Acting Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia, and Charles L. Reischel, Deputy Corporation Counsel, Neil F. Hartigan, Attorney General of Illinois, Linley E. Pearson, Attorney General of Indiana, Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General of Iowa, Robert T. Stephan, Attorney General of Kansas, William J. Guste, Jr., Attorney General of Louisiana, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General of Maryland, Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General of Minnesota, William L. Webster, Attorney General of Missouri, Marc Racicot, Attorney General of Montana, Robert M. Spire, Attorney General of Nebraska, John P. Arnold, Attorney General of New Hampshire, Robert Abrams, Attorney General of New York, Ernest D. Preate, Jr., Attorney General of Pennsylvania, James E. O’Neil, Attorney General of Rhode Island, Roger A. Tellinghuisen, Attorney General of South Dakota, Charles W. Burson, Attorney General of Tennessee, Jim Mattox, Attorney General of Texas, R. Paul Van Dam, Attorney General of Utah, Jeffrey L. Amestoy, Attorney General of Vermont, and Joseph B. Meyer, Attorney General of Wyoming; for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry et al. by Leonard S. Rubenstein; for the American Medical Association et al. by Carter G. Phillips, Elizabeth H. Esty, Jack R. Bierig, and Stephan E. Lawton; for the National Easter Seal Society et al. by Robert E. Lehrer; for Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy et al. by Janet F. Stotland and Robin Resnick; for the Children’s Defense Fund et al. by Alice Bussiere, Marilyn Holle, and James D. Weill; and for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives by Robert E. Rains and Nancy G. Shor. James Bopp, Jr., and Thomas J. Marzen filed a brief for the Medical Issues Task Force of the United Handicapped Federation et al. as amici curiae.
527 U.S. 581 (1999)
Decided: Jun 22, 1999
People with disabilities have the right to receive support in the community rather than in institutions when three conditions were met: (1) the treating medical professionals determine that a community setting was appropriate; (2) the person with a disability does not object to living in the community; and (3) the provision of services in the community is a reasonable accommodation.
From olmsteadrights.org: “After Olmstead, the lawsuits that followed slowly defined the contours of the decision. The impact of Olmstead grew steadily but slowly with each court case. Most of the cases that reached written decisions were resolved in favor of individuals with disabilities but the cases were sporadic and often involved only small groups of individuals or individuals living in specific institutions. The gradual impact of Olmstead grew faster and more expansive after 2009 when the United States Justice Department made Olmstead a priority of its Civil Rights division and began to enforce the Supreme Court mandate in state after state. Still, fifteen years after Olmstead, no state could credibly make the case that it is fully in compliance with Olmstead…. Courts also found that Olmstead applied to individuals living in the community who were at risk of institutionalization. In an important decision, one federal appellate court (the 10th Circuit) held that the protections in Olmstead would be meaningless if men and women with disabilities “were required to segregate themselves by entering an institution before they could challenge an allegedly discriminatory law or policy that threatens to force them into segregated isolation.” In that case, the individuals were not in nursing facilities and stated that they would rather die than enter nursing facilities. The Court held that these men and women, who lived in the community, were still protected by Olmstead…. As Olmstead expands, it becomes possible to foresee a time when all Americans will have the supports they need regardless of the extent of any disability or impairment to live in the community and not in institutions and nursing facilities.”
Michael H. Gottesman Atlanta Legal Aid Society argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Steven D. Caley, Susan C. Jamieson, and David A. Webster. Irving L. Gornstein argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging affirmance. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Waxman, Acting Assistant Attorney General Lee, Deputy Solicitor General Underwood, Jessica Dunsay Silver, and Gregory B. Friel. Case beginning: Sue Jamieson, who was an attorney at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lois and then later added Elaine for supports to be provided in the community.
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the American Association on Mental Retardation et al. by Alan M. Wiseman, Timothy Y.K. Armstrong, and Ira A Burnim; for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by Laurie Webb Daniel and Steven R. Shapiro; for the American… [unfinished in US Reports].