In the Matter of Marian T.

State: New York

Filed: December 31, 2019

Court: New York Court of Appeals

Overview: This brief argues that New York’s adoption statute requires the informed consent of adult adoptees. The lower court held that the consent of the adult adoptee is properly dispensed with where adoption would further the person’s best interests.

Excerpt: “In dispensing with Marian’s consent to her own adoption, the lower courts embraced the outdated-and discriminatory-view that adults with intellectual disability may be treated as perpetual children under the law. Despite changes in law, policy, and societal attitudes regarding the treatment of adults with intellectual disability, outmoded stereotypes of adults with intellectual disability as lacking personhood and the ability to exercise self-determination linger. The lower courts’ decisions reflect those outdated views and threaten a dangerous reversal of advances made by people with intellectual disability.”

Status: Awaiting decision

Case Documents

Amicus Brief

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

State: Montana

Filed: November 15, 2019

Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Overview: The brief argues that voucher and tax-credit programs like Montana’s redirect public funds to private entities largely unbound by the federal laws that for generations have guarded the rights and futures of students with disabilities. Allowing such programs to proliferate would significantly harm students with disabilities.

Excerpt: “For nearly fifty years, children with disabilities have relied on key federal laws to ensure that they receive the education to which they are entitled and are protected from discrimination and segregation in public schools. School voucher and tax-credit programs, including the Montana program at issue in this case, risk eroding these decades of progress. They redirect public money to private schools, which often fail to offer appropriate or integrated education to students with disabilities and commonly exclude them outright. And they deplete funding for public schools, which remain bound to comply with the comprehensive federal laws ensuring that students with disabilities are properly served. In the process, more and more students with disabilities will be excluded, neglected, and segregated—precisely the harms that Congress has repeatedly acted to stop.”

Status: Awaiting decision from the U.S. Supreme Court

Case Documents

Amicus Brief 

Related Media

Press Release: Advocacy Groups File U.S. Supreme Court Brief Warning That School Vouchers Harm Students With Disabilities

Public Charge Amicus Briefs

States: California, Washington, New York, Illinois

Filed: 2019

Courts: Northern District of California, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Washington, Northern District of Illinois

Overview: A coalition of national disability advocacy groups filed four amicus briefs in support of litigation to stop the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing its new “public charge” rule. Twenty-one states–led by California, Washington, and New York–as well as Cook County, Illinois, have filed cases against the Trump Administration to block the new rule. The advocacy groups – representing tens of thousands of people with disabilities and their families across the country – claim that the new public charge rule will prevent people with disabilities from entering this country or becoming legal residents in violation of federal disability law.

Status: The public charge rule is currently temporarily enjoined from being implemented nationwide during the national public health emergency declared by the Trump administration.

Case Documents

California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court) 
Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
Cook County, Illinois v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (District Court)
California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Ninth Circuit)
New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Second Circuit)
Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Ninth Circuit)
Cook County, Illinois v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Seventh Circuit)


California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Cook County, IL v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Related Media

Press Release: The Arc Applauds Federal Injunctions Against Public Charge Rule

Press Release: Disability Advocacy Groups File Amicus Brief Opposing the Administration’s Public Charge Rule as Illegal Disability Discrimination

Press Release: Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Public Charge Rule: Implementation Will Have Chilling Impact on People with Disabilities

The Hill: Disability rights groups join challenge to ‘public charge’ rule

Undisclosed Podcast: State v. Rocky Myers – Episode 4: Of Mice and Men

Through a review of Rocky Myers’ case in Alabama and a discussion with The Arc’s legal director, this episode explores the Supreme Court’s opinion in Atkins and later decisions holding that executing people with intellectual disability violates the constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

G.T. v. Board of Education of the County of Kanawha

State: West Virginia

Filed: 2020

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia

Plaintiffs: Parents of children with disabilities in Kanawha County Schools

Defendant: Kanawha County School District

Counsel: The Arc, Mountain State Justice, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights West Virginia, Latham & Watkins

Overview: In 2020, The Arc, along with other local and national disability advocacy organizations filed a class action complaint in federal court alleging that Kanawha County Schools (KCS) has failed to educate children with disabilities, including autism, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health concerns, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Specifically, the groups assert that KCS—the public school district serving the Charleston metro area—has failed to provide behavioral and academic supports to students with disabilities and is instead segregating them into separate schools and classrooms, or sending them home because KCS schools will not educate them. The advocates allege that KCS has violated federal laws protecting students with disabilities.

As described in the complaint, scores of children with disabilities enrolled in KCS have been separated unnecessarily from mainstream classrooms in their schools. Instead, the students are segregated for years in separate classrooms where they interact only with other students with disabilities, and receive an inferior education; placed on “homebound” status where they may only receive a few hours of tutoring each week; or suspended or even expelled from school for behaviors that are caused by their disabilities. The students are not receiving critical behavioral supports that can help them be successful in the general education classroom with their classmates without disabilities.

Specifically, the complaints allege that KCS is: 1) violating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by failing to provide children with disabilities with the special education they need to receive a “free appropriate public education” in the least restrictive environment; and 2) violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and the West Virginia Human Rights Act by failing to educate children with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, and denying them equal educational opportunity.

Status: Plaintiffs overcame a motion to dismiss in July 2020. Litigation is ongoing.

Case Documents

Due Process Complaint

Federal Court Complaint

Amended Federal Court Complaint

Order on Motion to Dismiss

Related Media

Press Release: Class Action Complaint Filed in West Virginia Alleging Systemic Disability Discrimination in Kanawha County Schools

Press Release: West Virginia, National Disability Advocacy Groups File Complaints Alleging Systemic Disability Discrimination in Kanawha County Schools

Press Release: Court Rules that Federal Disability Rights Class Action Against Charleston, West Virginia School District Can Proceed

Washington Post: ‘Warehousing at its worst’: Rights groups say W.Va. school system gives inferior education to special-needs students

West Virgina Record: Special needs student sues Kanawha County Schools for not properly providing for students