by Lucy Gwin
Gwin is editor of
seen here in a 1999 photo from his website, was until
June 15, 1999 Commissioner of the State of Georgia's
Department of Human Resources. (The Supreme Court
announced its decision on June 22. Hey, Tommy, just in
two women, identified as L.C. and E. W. (Lois Curtis and
Elaine Wilson) sued him so that they might leave state
hospitals and get the supports they needed to live in
freedom in their own communities, he fought them all the
way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
are a few of the statements he
in his petition for the Court to "grant certiorari"
(meaning "hear the case"):
state's choice of setting for an individual requiring public care depends
upon the individual's mental condition,
on the fact and extent of his dangerousness and inability to care for
himself, and on fiscal and administrative considerations." . . .
state has considerable discretion in determinining the scope and
nature of the services it will provide, and
need only exercise professional judgment in determining which
services are appropriate. 'Minimally adequate care' is the constitutional
requirement, not 'appropriate' care, 'better' care, or care that
will make patients 'safer, happier, or more productive" . . .
Court should accept certiorari [agree
to hear the case of] this important decision now, rather than
to delay and allow this confusion, with its disruption of state
planning and budgeting, to continue."
Tommy Olmstead is Commissioner of Human Resources for
DeKalb County, Georgia, rather than for the whole state
-- the press release said he resigned to take a job he'd
always wanted and now was free to pursue.
his spirit lives on, in spite of the Supreme Court
decision, in all the states where people are forced into
nursing homes and other institutions -- not because it's
cheaper or better or safer, but
that's the way bureaucrats like it.
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