President Signs Olmstead Order

After ADAPT protestors picketed the White House in mid-May, President Bush signed an Executive Order that will actively promote community-based alternatives rather than institutions for individuals with disabilities. The Order, executed on June 18, 2001, directs federal agencies to work closely with states to ensure full implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Olmstead case and compliance with the ADA.

On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court held in it’s landmark Olmstead decision that Title II of the ADA requires states, whenever possible, to place qualified individuals with mental disabilities in community settings rather than in institutions. The Executive Order refers to all Americans with disabilities, going beyond the Supreme Court’s ruling in Olmstead, which limited its decision to individuals with mental disabilities.

According to a statement made by President Bush on June 19, 2001, “The Olmstead Executive Order will increase freedom for people with disabilities. It is now the federal official policy of my administration. American’s must have the opportunity to live independently, work productively and participate fully in community life.”

The full text of the executive order “Community-based Alternatives For Individuals With Disabilities” is available online at