|Jump to full article: Smoke-Free Environments Law Project (SFELP), 2001-01-14|
The 6th Circuit Court, in Popovich v. Cuyahoga County, said that Congress exceeded its authority in Title II of the ADA when it abrogated States' sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution; the 11th Amendment protects states from being sued in most instances, and the 6th Circuit said that Congress lacked the basis for overriding this immunity when it enacted Title II of the ADA. This decision means that in the 4 states covered by the 6th Circuit (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee), Title II of the ADA will no longer be able to be used to sue states or local units of government for discrimination covered by the ADA. Since the ADA can be used to protect persons from discrimination in the workplace and in public accommodations, including persons who are severely harmed by contact with secondhand smoke, the ADA has provided a legal remedy for protecting individuals from secondhand smoke. As a result of this court decision, in the states in the 6th Circuit, the ADA is no longer available as a remedy against the actions of state or local governments. The ADA is still available as a remedy against private employers and all non-governmental entities. The 6th Circuit decision is likely to be directly affected by the Garrett ADA case which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on October 11th; the decision in this case is expected before the end of the current term, which concludes by July, 2001.
Jump to full article »