ACLU Comment on Two Supreme Court Wins for Civil Liberties

Court Rules in Death Penalty Case and Disabilities Rights Case

February 22, 2017 12:15 pm

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NEW YORK — The Supreme Court ruled today in a death penalty case and a disabilities rights case.

The latter, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and was decided unanimously. The court found that the Americans with Disabilities Act allows a Michigan girl with cerebral palsy to sue for violations unrelated to the adequacy of her education without first exhausting administrative proceedings.

The capital punishment case, Buck v. Davis, was decided 6-2 in favor of granting Duane Buck a new sentencing hearing.

Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, had this reaction to the victory in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools:

“This victory will, once and for all, remove unfair legal hurdles for victims of discrimination across the country that prevent students from seeking justice guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. And, of course, we are delighted for Ehlena and the entire Fry family, who fought for as long as they did because they wanted to make sure that other children with disabilities wouldn’t have to endure the discrimination that Ehlena faced.”

David Cole, legal director of the ACLU, had this reaction to the decision in Buck v. Davis:

“Today’s decision in Duane Buck’s case reflects a welcome and necessary commitment by the Supreme Court to rejecting death sentences grown from the poisonous soil of racial discrimination. Mr. Buck’s death sentence was based on expert testimony that showed blatant racial bias. By ruling in Mr. Buck’s favor, the Supreme Court concluded that it is an ‘extraordinary’ error to allow a death sentence when there is a chance racial discrimination played a role in the death verdict. This decision has broad implications, given the myriad ways racial bias determines who receives capital punishment in the United States.”

For more information about Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools:

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