Tommy Olmstead and the American Disability Act

Tommy Olmstead of Macon, GA — ADA ruling; supreme court case
There were two women in the State of Georgia who lived in a state hospital, and they wanted to live in the community.  They believed their lives would be better in the community and their treatment team agreed.  They took their case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court agreed!  In June of 1999, the Supreme Court issued its decision.  This is what’s known as the Olmstead decision.
The Olmstead decision mandates that all States administer services, programs and activities in the most integrated setting. “Most integrated setting” is a setting in the community where people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community life.
The Olmstead decision was primarily based on the non-discrimination mandate under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Some key statements from Title II of the ADA are:
* “A public entity shall administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the qualified individuals with disabilities.”
* “A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures when modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination, unless…modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services, program or activity.”

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This Page Updated February 20, 2018