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Today marks the 60th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on the right to counsel. In Gideon, the Court found that “reason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided.” Despite Gideon’s recognition that lawyers in criminal courts “are necessities, not luxuries,” our failure to provide adequate representation to defendants in our criminal courts has been well documented.
Judy Heumann, a preeminent and internationally acclaimed activist, died on March 4, 2023, at age 75. Widely regarded as the “mother of the disability rights movement,” Judy, a visionary and tireless activist, committed her life to advancing the rights of people with disabilities in the United States and abroad. As a disabled woman and disability scholar, I have been profoundly impacted by Judy, both personally and professionally. More, she was a friend and mentor whom I was privileged to know
So what would Judy have us to do to honor her iconic legacy? The short answer is that we must continue to march forth and keep fighting until every law, policy, program, organization, and activity not only acknowledges but meaningfully includes disability at every level and in every area of life. For Judy, meaningful inclusion meant much, much more than inserting “persons with disabilities” in a long list of marginalized groups. And by every level, Judy meant every level, from the highest decision-makers to the individuals with whom persons with disabilities interface every day. And every area of life meant not stopping at ensuring that every school is accessible and every teacher trained, but also that persons with disabilities are centered in existential issues, such as climate action. Like the best kind of mindful aunt, she would expect more of all of us.
Did tester standing survive the Supreme Court's curtailment of standing in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez (2021)? The Fourth Circuit recently held that it did, joining two other appellate courts and worsening an existent circuit split.