The civil rights of millions of Americans with disabilities are in jeopardy! Governor Gregoire of the state of Washington is considering appealing a case to the Supreme Court that will put the right to effective community integration at risk for millions of Americans with disabilities. The details of the case are complex, but it's up to all concerned citizens to show Governor Gregoire that we're savvy enough to understand this threat to our civil rights, that we take this threat very seriously, and that if she decides to appeal this case to the Supreme Court, we will not forget this attack upon our civil rights!
When Washington state budget cuts were proposed to cut funding for personal assistive care services for Medicaid recipients by 10%, the disability community saw this to be a violation of the civil right to community participation and integration that was protected by the Olmstead decision. The Olmstead decision was a 1999 Supreme Court ruling that required U.S. states to provide long term services and supports so that Americans with disabilities can avoid unwanted institutionalization and live as active participants in our society. It protects the rights of Americans with disabilities to have access to true community integration, just as the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling protects the rights of African-Americans to community integration.
The disability community sued the state of Washington for this violation of the Olmstead decision, and the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in favor of protecting the rights of those with disabilities to community integration. But now, Governor Gregoire is considering an appeal of this case to the Supreme Court, which will directly place at risk the civil rights of all Americans with disabilities, not just Washington state residents, by threatening an overturn of the Olmstead decision on a federal level.
The Washington state chapter of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is spearheading an effort to let Governor Gregoire know that we are fully aware of the destructive potential of this threat to our civil rights, which would roll back over a decade's worth of progress for the dignity and quality of life of countless Americans with disabilities. The disability community calls upon Governor Gregoire to refrain from appealing this case to the Supreme Court.
The need for Governor Gregoire to open a constructive, respectful dialogue with disability advocates is urgent. The deadline for filing an appeal is September 17th, but we've just received word that Governor Gregoire has applied for an extension to that deadline, giving her until October 1st to make a decision. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, in collaboration with other representatives of the disability community, emphatically condemns this action on her part, as it betrays her lack of recognition of the urgency of this threat to basic civil rights that a Supreme Court appeal entails.
Let Governor Gregoire know that you won't be fooled into letting her get away with threatening our civil rights in this way! Take action today by signing this petition, and spreading the word to educate your colleagues, friends and family about this urgent threat to the civil rights of Americans with disabilities. If enough of us stand up and make our voices heard, she will realize that the cost to her reputation of attacking our civil rights in this way is too great, and that an appeal to the Supreme Court would be extremely unwise. Let her know that you get the message, and help us make sure that she gets the message, too. Take a stand today!
- Chief of Staff
- Deputy Chief of Staff
- Communications Director
- Director of Legislative & External Affairs
- Policy Office Director
- Legal Counsel
- Washington Governor
We understand that you have just filed for an extension for the deadline to appeal the M.R. vs. Dreyfus case to the Supreme Court. We are writing to let you know that such an appeal would be a disastrous choice, for Washington State, for our budget, for the civil rights of the community of people with disabilities in Washington State and across the country, and for your own reputation and legacy on disability rights and civil rights in general. Your decision to ask for an extension betrays a lack of understanding of the urgency of this vital civil rights issue for our community.
The legal particulars surrounding this appeal are complex and byzantine, but the disability community and the American public are not fools. We understand that an appeal of this case to the Supreme Court constitutes a direct attack on the civil rights of Americans with disabilities. We hope that you understand this as well.
The Olmstead decision ensures the civil rights of Americans with disabilities to be integrated into their community and participate as valued members of our society, just as Brown vs. Board of Education ensured the civl rights of African-Americans to be integrated into our communities. To threaten a possible SCOTUS overturn of the Olmstead decision, by appealing M.R. vs. Dreyfus, is to threaten rolling back the clock on over a decade of progress for the civil rights of Americans with disabilities.
We want to let you know that we are not fools. We understand the severity of this issue and we care about it, and we will not forget, if this issue goes to the Supreme Court. We will remember that you, Governor Gregoire, initiated this national threat to the civil rights of millions of Americans with disabilities.
Please, show us that you care about the civil rights of Americans with disabilities to be included and integrated into our communities as valued citizens, by immediately reaching out to the disability advocacy community to make arrangements to sit down with us and negotiate a settlement to this case. Your application for an extension of the deadline to appeal leads us to believe that you do not understand the urgency of this threat you are posing to our civil rights. Pleas sit down with us, and show us that you are willing to give our grave concerns the consideration they deserve, and to give us the respect we deserve.
We know you would like to do what is best for your state, for civil rights, and for your legacy. Our goals are not in conflict. Please sit down with disability advocates, immediately, to help us ensure that there will be no Supreme Court appeal, and show us that you understand that we are not fools, that this is not an issue we will forget, and that you value our contributions to society and our input as American citizens, with or without disabilities. Thank you.
Sincerely and in earnest,
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