State Medical Board Drops Appeal in Case That Could Have Weakened ADA
The California Medical Board on Friday voted 14-1 to withdraw a Supreme Court appeal of a case that could have weakened the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/1). In the case, Medical Board of California v. Hason, Michael Hason sued the state under the ADA for refusing to grant him a medical license because of his history with depression, the Sacramento Bee reports. Disability advocates said the case could have made it possible for the Supreme Court justices to "further dismantle" the ADA. Last year, a challenge by the state of Alabama in University of Alabama v. Garrett eliminated the employment discrimination provisions of the ADA. The California case challenged a section of the ADA that grants equal access to all state residents to any services, programs or activities provided by state or local governments (Payne, Sacramento Bee, 2/28). Gov. Gray Davis (D) last week also asked the board to withdraw its appeal. "I believe firmly that by withdrawing this case, the Board will protect patients without jeopardizing the centerpiece of protections from discrimination for disabled Americans," Davis said (Office of the Governor release, 2/28). Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) and two Davis aides also had urged the medical board to drop the appeal and let Hason pursue his case in lower courts (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/1). However, the victory may be short-lived, the Bee reports. Linda Kilb, an attorney for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, earlier last week said even if the board decided to drop its appeal, it would be a "temporary reprieve" because "sooner or later" the Supreme Court will address the section of the ADA that the case would challenge (Sacramento Bee, 2/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.