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The goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was to create a civil rights law protecting people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of their disabilities. Disability rights advocates in 1990 were victorious in their efforts to open doors for people with disabilities and to change the country's outlook and acceptance of people with disabilities. These advocates believed that the terms of the ADA, based as they were on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, combined with the legislative history of the ADA, would provide clear instructions to the courts that the ADA was intended to provide broad coverage prohibiting discrimination against people with a wide range of physical and mental impairments.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court--with lower courts following in its lead, barricaded the door that the ADA had opened by interpreting the definition of "disability" in the ADA to create an overly demanding standard for coverage under the law. This article provides an overview of the advocacy effort that has resulted in restoring the original intent of the ADA and destroying the barriers of discrimination that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society.

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13 Tex. J. C.L. & C.R. 187-240 (2008)