This course explores the relationship between law and disability from three angles. First, we will study the disability civil rights paradigm in the United States, with some comparative discussion of international disability law, and other nation-states’ approaches to the question of disability and equity. Second, we will review U.S. disability social welfare and benefits systems, and the provisions in law for people with disabilities who cannot work. Third, the course will investigate the treatment of people with disabilities in courts and justice systems, with some specific attention to disability and incarceration.
Our statutory focus will include, but is not strictly limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEIA), Medicaid/Medicare, Social Security, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Disability is an issue of legal significance in nearly all areas of domestic law to varying degrees, and in this sense, our review of the field within the course of a semester cannot be thorough or comprehensive. A primary aim in this course involves making sense of the way U.S. legal structures tend to frame or understand disability. An additional key goal will involve studying disability and legal subjectivity. That is, we will engage the question: how are various areas of law, and legal processes likely to be experienced, by people of varying abilities?