Americans with Disabilities Act

The Supreme Court has frozen a district court order that lifted Alabama’s ban on curbside voting. As a result, curbside voting must discontinue in Alabama.

Alabama law is silent on curbside voting. A number of Alabama counties were offering it due to COVID-19. Alabama’s Secretary of State, John Merrill, has taken the position that curbside voting violates state law and has banned it. A federal district court...

In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court stayed a federal district court order requiring absentee election managers (AEMs) to not enforce a number of absentee ballot requirements in three counties in Alabama and lifting a prohibition against curbside voting in the state.

In response to COVID-19, Alabama Governor Ivey moved the runoff primary election from March 31 to July 14. Alabama’s Secretary of State Merrill promulgated an emergency regulation...

Since 2010 states and local governments have been waiting for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue regulations requiring them to increase website, equipment and furniture, and 9-1-1 accessibility for persons with disabilities. The wait is over; the regulations are no longer in the works (for now).

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits states and local governments from discriminating on the basis of disability in “all services, programs, and activities provided to the public.”

In 2010 DOJ issued three Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking indicating its desire to issue regulations regarding accessibility of state and local government websites and non-fixed equipment and furniture and use of Next Generation 9-1-1. While DOJ has been silent on the latter two issues since 2010, in 2016 it issued a supplemental advance notice regarding website accessibility

As of December 26, 2016, DOJ has withdrawn all four Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking while it evaluates whether promulgating regulations is “necessary and appropriate.” 

In Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools the Supreme Court held unanimously that if a student’s complaint against a school seeks relief for a denial of a free appropriate public education it must first be brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), instead of under other statutes that might also be violated.

Napoleon Community Schools prohibited a kindergartener with cerebral palsy from bringing a service dog to school. The district noted the student had a one-on-one human aid who was able to provide the same assistance as the dog.

In Texas, state law requires most people under age 25 to attend a state-licensed private driver education school to obtain a driver’s license. None of the schools accommodate deaf students. So a number of deaf students sued the Texas Education Agency (TEA) arguing it was required to bring the driver education schools into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).    

In Ivy v. Morath the Supreme Court was supposed to decide when state and local governments are responsible for ensuring that a private actor complies with the ADA. The Court dismissed the case concluding it was moot most likely because Texas claimed that four of the students suing completed the driver education course and one moved out of state.

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