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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cause Lawyering for People with Disabilities

I am happy to share a new project I have been working on.  Along with David Wilkins and Michael Stein, I have co-authored a book review of Sam Bagenstos's book Law & Contradictions of the Disability Rights Movement.  Our book review, available here, is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review. 

One of the main themes of Professor Bagenstos's book is that while the Supreme Court can be criticized for how it has interpreted the Americans with Disabilities Act, its decisions may also be be fairly explained by contradictions within the disability rights movement.  This diversity of interests has created tensions within the movement’s goals, allowing the Rehnquist Court to select interpretations of the scope of disability rights from among a competing set of principles articulated by members of this large and contentious movement.

We agree with most of what Professor Bagenstos offers in his book, and recognize it as an important and novel contribution to the literature.  In our Review, we suggest that Professor Bagenstos implicitly raises an even more fundamental question: given that internal divisions have undermined the movement’s goals, why have disability rights advocates failed to develop strategies for bridging – or at the very least, camouflaging – their differences in order to present a more effective, united front? We use this Review as an opportunity to discuss the role of “disability cause lawyering,” a topic unaddressed by both the disability rights and cause lawyering scholarship.  We hope this is the beginning of a series of projects in this area.  

Please look at what we have to say.  Comments and thoughts are welcome!  

Posted by Michael Waterstone on April 8, 2010 at 01:06 AM | Permalink


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this is such an important project, and no better team to launch it!

Posted by: Orly Lobel | Apr 8, 2010 11:30:44 AM

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