Back in December, President Trump issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to identify regulations for “repeal, replacement, or modification”. In response to the order, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that he is rescinding twenty-five guidance documents, including several related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to the Attorney General, the guidance documents are being rescinded because they are either “outdated, used to circumvent the regulatory process” or go “beyond what is provided for in statutes or regulation”. Revoking the guidance documents does not change or repeal the ADA. Guidance documents are non-binding advice given by administrative agencies regarding how best to comply with a particular law or regulation. However, guidance is often used to explain or interpret laws or legal requirements. While the guidance itself may not be legally binding, guidance documents can serve as legal precedent to help decide the outcome of court cases.
One guidance document being revoked is an Obama-era statement from 2016 on the ADA, the Olmstead decision, and integrated employment. The document has been used to explain and clarify the ADA’s Title II integration mandate and how it applies to state and local government employment services, and to define “the most integrated setting” under the ADA and Olmstead. Some other disability-related guidance documents being withdrawn are “Title II Highlights” and “Title III Highlights” from 2008, “Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers” and “ADA Business Brief: Service Animals” from 2002, and several older documents from the 1990s. You can read the full list of revoked guidance documents at the US Justice Department’s website here.
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The Fifth Freedom Network