Disability, Civil Rights, and Public Policy: The Politics of by Stephen L. Percy

By Stephen L. Percy

Following at the heels of alternative Civil Rights hobbies, incapacity rights legislation emerged within the overdue Sixties and early Seventies. usually those legislation have been extra symbolic than designated by way of ambitions and techniques for implementation of antidiscrimination guidelines. coverage refinement, the method of translating legislative mandates into innovations and techniques to manipulate administrative motion, is either dynamic and arguable. the basis of the ebook is that implementation guidelines in those parts developed via protracted political struggles between various people and teams suffering from incapacity rights legislation. Efforts to steer regulations prolonged some distance past the method of legislative enactment and led to struggles that have been performed out within the courts and within the government department. integrated inside of this exam of federal incapacity rights legislation is the function of symbolic politics, the strengths and weaknesses of latest versions used for the research of coverage implementation, and the politics of administrative policymaking.

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibited recipients of federal funds from discriminating on the basis of handicap, and the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 required that school systems design educational programs to meet the needs of disabled students. The ADA caps the cumulative effect of these earlier laws and those adopted by many states, providing detailed mandates intended to remove discrimination against persons with mental or physical impairments. 3 This book describes both the creation of the pre-ADA disability rights laws and, more important, the struggle to implement these laws, which often did not lay out clear strategies or objectives to guide implementors.

This point is made clear by Frank Bowe (1978, viii), a tireless advocate for disabled citizens: We have created an image of disabled people that is perhaps the greatest barrier they face. We see the disabilitythe chrome and the leather, the guide dog, the hearing aid, the crutchesand look the other way. Just as we cannot seem to see the man in the policeman, so imposing are the uniform and the cultural expectations that go with it, so we cannot see the woman in the wheelchair. We do not see, nor do we look to find.

When statutory language is vague, administrative authorities possess extensive discretion in fashioning strategies and procedures for implementation. They do not, however, formulate these strategies in a political vacuum. Instead, administrative policy makers, acting within the constraint of statutory language and intent, fashion strategies for implementation, while, at the same time, regulated interests and program beneficiaries exert pressures to influence those strategies. Page x The development of policies to implement disability rights laws documents the ever-changing nature of implementation strategies and the processes by which parties affected by the policies have sought to influence their content and scope.

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