From the NJ Real - Time News (9.22.10):
N.J. seeks to dismiss lawsuit alleging discrimination against people with disabilities
by Susan K. Livio
TRENTON — New Jersey is too broke to move 1,850 people with developmental disabilities out of institutions in the next five years, so a lawsuit demanding it do so should be dismissed, an attorney representing the state said today.
The case stems from a federal Supreme Court ruling that says federal law protects the right of disabled people to live in "the most integrated setting’’ safely possible...
..."Every state says ‘we don’t have the money now,’" said Samuel Bagenstos, a deputy attorney general from the U.S. Justice’s Department’s civil rights division...
...Bagenstos was dispatched from Washington, D.C., to testify for a legal advocacy group, Disability Rights New Jersey, which brought the suit. The group wanted U.S. District Court Judge Anne Thompson to rule the state was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and order it to move people into the community.
The state offered its empty pockets defense after Thompson refused to allow a more controversial approach: that the state cannot be sued and the 20-year-old disabilities act violates states’ rights and should be declared invalid.
Thompson barred that "sovereign immunity" defense last year when the state offered it to fend off a similar lawsuit.
Thank you Judge Thompson for barring that argument from your courtroom. Way to add insult to injury, New Jersey, denying the constitutionality of the ADA in general in attempting to get out of compliance with the Olmstead decision. How many times will we have to fight this battle before states accept their moral and legal responsibilities? Add your comments below.