In 1999, by a six to three majority, the United States Supreme Court issued a seminal decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which involved the application of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Olmstead concerned several intellectually disabled individuals (“individuals”) who were admitted to a Georgia hospital but not timely discharged from the hospital although their treatment professionals agreed that they could be cared for safely in the community.
The question before the Court was whether the failure to discharge the individuals to a community-based setting violated Title II of the ADA as argued by the individuals or whether the failure to discharge was not discrimination but rather, as the state of Georgia argued, based on the state’s lack of available funding. Specifically, the Olmstead Court applied the language in a regulation promulgated under the ADA, which requires a “public entity [to] administer . . . programs . . . in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.”
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