For immediate release: June 22, 1999 The United States Supreme Court announced its decision today in the case of Olmstead v. L.C., a case brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act by two mentally disabled patients at the Georgia Regional Hospital in Atlanta against the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The decision of the court, written by Justice Ginsburg, answers the question whether a state is obligated under the ADA to place persons with disabilities in community service settings rather than in institutions with a "qualified yes." In a lengthy opinion, however, the court recognizes that the obligation of the state is not absolute and must be tempered with considerations of "the resources available to the State, . . . the cost of providing community-based care . . ., the range of services the State provides others with mental disabilities, and the State's obligation to mete out those services equitably."
Attorney General Thurbert Baker said, "We are pleased with the ultimate outcome of this decision. The Supreme Court has now answered the question whether the ADA imposes any requirement on the state in the affirmative, but it has also recognized that those requirements must be tempered with the reality of the needs of the patients and the availability of resources and facilities. This decision gives the Department of Human Resources guidance as it continues to carry out its obligations to provide for and treat Georgia citizens in need."