Phillips v. Florida

State: Florida

Filed: February 16, 2021

Court: United States Supreme Court

Overview: This amicus brief address the issue of whether Hall v. Florida is retroactive as a matter of federal Eighth Amendment law.

Excerpt:Hall stated explicitly that ‘[t]he clinical definitions of intellectual disability, which take into account that IQ scores represent a range, not a fixed number, were a fundamental premise of Atkins. And those clinical definitions have long included the SEM.’ Precisely because they were a fundamental premise of Atkins, the command of Hall that they be respected in conducting Atkins evaluations has got to be understood as enforcing a preexisting Eighth Amendment requirement, not creating a new one…The Florida Supreme Court’s decision below that ‘federal law does not require retroactive application of Hall as a new substantive rule of federal constitutional law’ appears on its face to be at odds with both Hall and Teague. Certiorari should be granted to determine whether it ‘conflicts with [those] relevant decisions of this Court.'”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief

A.R. v. Dudek

State: Florida

Filed: 2017

Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Overview: The brief challenged the policies of the state of Florida that resulted in unnecessary separation of children with disabilities from their families and unnecessary institutionalization in nursing facilities. The brief emphasized the importance of class action litigation to enforce the right of people with disabilities to live and receive services in community settings, consistent with the ADA’s integration mandate and explained the importance of community living for people with disabilities and the importance of children growing up in their family home.

Excerpt: “Class actions are uniquely appropriate for litigating Olmstead cases because…they focus on systemic practices and policies that violate the ADA’s integration mandate. By their nature, Olmstead cases challenge policies or practices that unduly rely on institutions and other segregated settings for the delivery of services, denying people with disabilities the opportunity to live, work, or be educated in a community-based setting.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: A.R. v. Dudek

Eleventh Circuit Opinion:

A.R. v. Secretary

State: Florida

Filed: October 25, 2017

Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Overview: The brief argued that, in a case challenging the state of Florida’s practice of unnecessarily serving hundreds of children with disabilities and complex medical needs in institutional settings, the U.S. Attorney General has standing to sue under Title II of the ADA. The brief noted that all branches of government have recognized since the ADA’s enactment that the Attorney General has authority to bring an enforcement action and this authority has been used to achieve important victories for people with disabilities.

Excerpt: “For decades, courts have recognized the Attorney General’s authority to enforce Title II of the ADA…In light of the text and purpose of the ADA, the longstanding DOJ regulations establishing the enforcement procedures for Title II, and the unanimity of all other cases decided to the contrary, the District Court’s decision was clearly erroneous. If permitted to stand, this decision will undermine the significant role the Attorney General has traditionally played in the enforcement of the ADA. The enforcement authority of the Attorney General significantly benefits individuals with disabilities, both because of the broad standing the Attorney General has to pursue systemic relief and because of the financial barriers to private litigation. The District Court’s decision would impede the progress the country has made toward the goal of “assur[ing] equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency” for individuals with disabilities…”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: A.R. v. Secretary

Decision