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!