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Supreme Court rules against state immunity in ADA suits

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday ruled that states have no immunity from private lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [text] if the state has violated the Fourteenth Amendment. In United States v. Georgia [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], 04-1203, the Court unanimously ruled that where lawsuits for monetary damages were permitted under the ADA, states were not immune. In the opinion, Justice Scalia wrote that the Court accepted the 11th Circuit's ruling that the plaintiff had alleged a violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. In the case, Tony Goodman alleged that prison officials kept him for 23 hours a day in a cell so small that he could not turn his wheelchair. The Court remanded the case to allow Goodman to pursue his Title II claims. Read the Court's opinion [text] and Justice Stevens' concurrence [text]. AP has more.

The Court also issued two other opinions, including one in Volvo Trucks v. Reeder-Simco [Duke Law case backgrounder], 04-905, in which the Court ruled that under the Robinson-Patman Act, a product manufacturer is not liable for price discrimination between dealers reselling the product unless they compete for the same retail customers. The Court decided the case in a 7-2 ruling. Read the Court's opinion [text], per Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Stevens' dissent [text], joined by Justice Thomas. In Evans v. Chavis [Duke Law case backgrounder], 04-712, the Court barred a California inmate's habeas appeal after the inmate waited three years before appealing a lower court ruling to the state supreme court. The Court unanimously held that the three years constituted unreasonable delay for a habeas petition. Read Justice Breyer's opinion [text] for the Court, and Justice Stevens' concurrence [text]. SCOTUSBlog has more.

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