Alert
Close

Top the Trizzle leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

Highlights

Open
AARP Real Possibilities

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

U.S. Supreme Court 2010-11

VOPA v. Reinhard: A Case About Disabilities Rights

Are states immune from suits by their own agencies?

The 2010-11 term brings a major test of the powers of independent state agencies that aim to protect the rights of people with disabilities. In Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy (VOPA) v. Reinhard, the Court will decide whether VOPA and other protection and advocacy agencies, known as P&A agencies, may sue state officials in federal court over alleged violations of federal law or whether states are immune from such suits.

The case arose from a dispute between VOPA and state officials over the release of medical records from two state institutions. VOPA had requested the records as part of its investigation into the deaths of residents in state custody. State officials refused to release the records, arguing that they were privileged under Virginia law.

What’s at stake. Most state P&A agencies have special programs that aim to help older citizens, including beneficiaries of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Where AARP stands. AARP, siding with VOPA, argues that “P&A organizations are essential to remedying and preventing abuse and neglect of older persons and people with disabilities.”

How the Court Ruled

In a 6-2 decision issued on April 19, the Court sided with VOPA, holding that state officials are not immune from lawsuits brought by P&A agencies of the same state.

“It was Virginia law that created VOPA and gave it the power to sue state officials,” the Court’s opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, noted. And it pointed out that VOPA is specifically empowered to “initiate any proceedings to secure the rights” of disabled individuals.

Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Samuel Alito joined.

Next: What if a veteran trying to receive benefits misses a deadline because of a service-related disability?

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members save 20% on digital hearing aids with AARP® Hearing Care Program from HearUSA.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can locate discounts via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder mobile app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.