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Policy Brief Series #16: Supreme Court's Decisions Regarding Validity and Influence of ADA Regulations

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June 4, 2003


The Supreme Court has fluctuated greatly in the degree of respect it has accorded the regulations these agencies have issued in fulfillment of their ADA responsibilities. This policy brief in the National Council on Disability’s Righting the ADA series examines the status the Court has conferred on the various sets of ADA regulations and how solicitous or dismissive it has been in following the standards established in the regulations. It is important at the outset to understand the difference between the level of deference the Court deems appropriate for a particular set of regulations and the extent to which the Court follows or applies a particular regulatory requirement or interpretation.

The Supreme Court’s treatment of ADA regulatory provisions interpreting the definitions found at the beginning of the Act has been dramatically different from its treatment of provisions addressing substantive requirements of the Act. For this reason, these two categories of regulations will be discussed separately in this policy brief.

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