CREEC, Disability Rights Organizations File Cake Amicus!

CREEC joined nine other disability rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in support of the gay couple turned away from a Colorado bakery based on the owner’s prejudice.  The Colorado Court of Appeals held in favor of the couple, recognizing that the baker violated their rights under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”), and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to review.  The case is currently before the United States Supreme Court on the baker’s argument that it violates his first amendment rights of free exercise and free expression to force him to make a cake that would be used in a gay wedding.  The statute at issue — CADA  — prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on disability as well as sexual orientation and a number of other protected classes; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits disability discrimination in public accommodations. CREEC and other organizations filed their amicus brief to caution the Court that recognizing personal scruples exceptions — including free exercise or free expression — to the general requirement that public accommodations serve everyone without discrimination could significantly jeopardize enforcement of Title III and the protections it affords people with disabilities to fully participate in our nation’s economic and commercial life. CREEC strongly urges the Supreme Court to affirm the Colorado Court of Appeals and reaffirm our commitment that American businesses are #OPENTOALL. We would also like to thank the rockstars at Rosen, Bien, Galvan and Grunfeld who wrote the brief, and our fellow amici for the terrific discussions the brief engendered. 16-111, AC...

Good Press Regarding the Decoteau Case

Our Decoteau case challenging the lack of outdoor exercise for inmates in solitary confinement at the Colorado State Penitentiary was the focus of an article on clinical legal education in The National Jurist.  We love working with Civil Rights Clinic students and appreciate the shout-out to CREEC. (Note: The link leads to an inaccessible copy of the article.  A word version is available here). Here’s a sneak peek from the article: The recent victory over the Colorado prison system was no overnight success. It was the culmination of years of work by the clinic and the advocacy organization Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center. The students coming in know this can be a long slog, [Clinic Director Laura] Rovner said. They fight the good fight and then hand it off to the next group of students. However, the work resonates long after they leave. When the recent settlement was announced, Rovner got emails from former students who worked on the case, telling her how rewarding it was to hear the news. The students also learn a lot about themselves. They may have preconceived notions about prison, about inmates, about whether they deserve sympathy or help. Best Schools for Practical...

Celebrating civil disobedience

As a law nerd and an introvert, I have not really pulled my weight in the civil rights protest department.  When activists make signs, and travel long distances, and put on rain ponchos or wool hats or sunscreen and block buses or shout at meetings full of bioethicists plotting their convenient demise, I can be found in my warm/cool, dry, shaded office, attempting to advance the cause with Westlaw research and legal briefs. So I’ve been following ADAPT’s protest in Little Rock from afar.  Tossed in a few bucks to help get the Colorado contingent to Arkansas, but otherwise just observing and law nerding as usual.  Which is why, for some reason, this interaction, as related by Michael Bailey, really struck me: Chief of Police: “why you making this fuss? Nobody ever changed nothing breaking the law.” Adapter: “The buses you’re taking us to jail on, are they accessible? ” Chief of Police: “yes, they have ramps.” Adapter: “we put those there. “ Yes, yes you did.  Congratulations, ADAPT, on a successful protest in Little Rock.  ADAPT’s website has many amazing photos, but this one poignantly shows the connection between direct action over the years. Thank you, ADAPT.  As for that progress in integration of people with disabilities?  You put that...

Hey Hollister! Learn from Wet Seal!

While the Hollister chain continues to defend a store design that segregates customers in wheelchairs to side entrances . . . {Image description:   Porch-like structure in front of a mall store. The porch is surrounded by a railing, and only accessible by two steps in the middle of the front of the porch. At the back of the porch is a photo — spanning the height and width of the rear wall — of a male model with no shirt on. The roof of the porch like structure is sloped and tiled to look like a beach shack.} . . . the Wet Seal clothing chain has responded to the aspirations and ingenuity of a girl with Down Syndrome by giving her a photo shoot as a Wet Seal model. {Image description:   Teen age girl with a brown page-boy haircut, glasses, and Down Syndrome poses in a grassy yard wearing a pink long sleeve shirt layered under a white tank top printed with the image of a flower-print skull. The girl has her hands on her hips and is wearing pink nail polish.} Per Disability Scoop — where I got the photo, too — after Karrie Brown started a Facebook page promoting her goal of being a Wet Seal model, the company “promised her something very special” if she could get 10,000 likes.   She got over 14,000 and is now headed to California for her own photo shoot.   Quoted in the Scoop: “Karrie’s enthusiasm and passion for fashion caught our attention and has inspired all of us here at Wet Seal,” John Goodman, the company’s...

Hollister injunction

Today the judge entered a permanent injunction in our Hollister case.   The key provision gives Hollister until January 1, 2017 to ensure that any . . . point of entry or egress that presently contains an Elevated Entrance will be 1. modified to be level with the surrounding floor space; 2. modified to be ramped in compliance with Section 405 of the 2010 Standards; or 3. closed off from any public access. Should Defendants elect the last option, they will ensure that the area served by the Elevated Entrances is not used for customer entry or egress, and all customers will instead use the existing level side entrances. The work is to be completed at the rate of at least 77 stores per year, and Hollister is required to report back to the court, with photos, every six months. 2013-08-20 [211] Permanent...