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2001 November - December

New Environmental Sampling and Right-to-Know Strategies for Housing and Tenants' Rights Advocates

By Don Ryan & Ralph Scott

Focusing on environmental health hazards often associated with poor housing conditions is a new approach to addressing substandard housing and promoting tenants' rights. By adapting sampling and right-to-know strategies from the environmental movement to the housing and tenants' rights arena, advocates can document serious environmental health hazards in distressed communities and use this information to win measures to catalyze corrective action to ensure safe and affordable housing for low-income families.

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Sandoval's Retrenchment on Civil Rights Enforcement

The Ultimate Sorcerer's Magic

By Jane Perkins & Sarah Jane Somers

In Alexander v. Sandoval the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs had no private right of action to enforce regulations prohibiting disparate impact discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Because the Sandoval majority "picked and chose" among conclusions from previous Supreme Court cases, the decision undermines basic concepts of stare decisis. The decision leaves questions unanswered and is likely to affect future cases.

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Privacy Issues Affecting Welfare Applicants

By Allison I. Brown

Although welfare applicants always have had to surrender some privacy rights to obtain public assistance, the 1996 welfare reform law requires even greater information collection from welfare applicants. Thus advocates need to know the limitations on the government's information collection that the Fourth Amendment and civil rights law impose, and they need to understand the legal restrictions on the use of the information that government agencies collect from welfare applicants.

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Community Integration of Individuals with Disabilities

An Update on Olmstead Implementation

By Jennifer Mathis

In 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is a form of discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lower courts now are defining the boundaries of the integration mandate in Olmstead v. L.C. and ruling on various nonmerit defenses commonly raised. Meanwhile states are taking preliminary steps to implement the mandate.

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Beyond Bush v. Gore

Highlights from the Supreme Court's 2000–2001 Decisions Concerning Access to the Courts

By Jane Perkins, Gary F. Smith, Matthew Diller & Gill Deford Several decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court last term will have an impact on individuals' access to the justice system and will affect federal court practice for public interest practitioners. In two of these decisions, the Court said that states were not subject to suit under two major civil rights laws. Other notable decisions involved the state action doctrine, attorney fees, retroactive application of statutes, judicial estoppel, and the scope of deference that judges must accord administrative agencies. Download this article   |   Read more ➢
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