Washington Law Review


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. Since its passage in 1991, the number of individuals seeking protection under the Act has steadily increased and the types of impairments claimed to qualify as disabilities have dramatically expanded. Many disability claims test the boundaries of the Act and reveal a muddied conception of what constitutes a disability for purposes of the ADA. This Article investigates the meaning of the term disability to define more clearly who should benefit under the Act. By focusing on controlled impairments, a group of disability claims that has produced a split among lower courts, this Article analyzes the term "disability" in light of the ADA's stated goals and proposed justifications. The Article concludes that the lack of understanding about the meaning of the term "disability" allows unintended and undeserving beneficiaries to expand the ADA's scope beyond any justifiable boundary.

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