Samuel R. Bagenstos received the 2011 Bethesda Voices Public Policy Award.
Legal scholar and champion of disability rights, Samuel Bagenstos is committed to invigorating the enforcement of civil rights, particularly those associated with promises made to Americans with disabilities.
In 2009, Bagenstos took a two-year leave from the University of Michigan Law School to serve as deputy assistant general at the U.S. Department of Justice. During that time, Bagenstos pushed for intensified enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires that states provide services to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the individual.
In addition to addressing where people with disabilities live—in institutions or the community—Bagenstos has further pushed that Olmstead be more critical about how people with disabilities live. His work supports people with disabilities leading integrated lives with the usual array of day-to-day choices, opportunities and interactions. He has also led efforts to help ensure emerging technologies are accessible to people with disabilities.
Bagenstos’ work led to the final negotiations in the landmark settlements in United States v. Georgia and United States v. Delaware. These settlements guarantee community-based housing and other services to thousands of people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities. Bagenstos led efforts to introduce the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Title II and III regulations, the first comprehensive update to those regulations since the original 1991 versions.
A 1993 graduate from Harvard Law School, Bagenstos’ litigation experience includes arguing cases in 10 of the 12 regional federal circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has authored Law and the Contradiction of the Disabilities Rights Movement and a casebook on disability law.
Watch Bagenstos accept his award: