Justice Denied

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

– Albert Einstein

The right to equal justice is considered a universal human right for all people, including individuals with developmental and other disabilities.

However, some people continue to believe that individuals with developmental and other disabilities do not need – or deserve – equal treatment, despite scientific advances, general recognition that abilities far outweigh an individual’s disabilities, community integration and improvements in education. Some cite competency to justify their beliefs. Others do not understand developmental disabilities and believe outdated stereotypes that portray people with developmental disabilities as inadequate or incapable and, therefore, less deserving of equal justice. Even among people who profess to be committed to disability justice, few take actions that put these beliefs into practice.

While progress has been made in obtaining justice for people of different races, gender and sexual orientation, justice for people with developmental and other disabilities remains elusive. In this section, you will find information about people with developmental and other disabilities, who they are, and some of the common issues that stand in the way of assuring that they also have access to equal justice. Before exploring the topic below, take a few minutes to learn why well-known legal professionals are committed to improving justice for people with disabilities.

In this short video, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank discusses the importance of justice for people with disabilities and the personal experiences that helped cement his commitment to justice.

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pdf_iconClick on the icon to learn more about Judge Donovan Frank.

This article was originally printed in the September 2012 issue of The Federal Lawyer and is used with permission.


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David Ferleger is a well-known lawyer from Philadelphia who specializes in public interest, civil rights and disability law. He litigated landmark disability cases and argued five times before the Supreme Court. Click on the icon to hear what motivates him to pursue justice for people with disabilities.

pdf_icon Click on the icon to learn more about David Ferleger and his efforts to further justice for people with developmental disabilities.


Click on a topic to learn more about people with developmental disabilities and some of the common issues that pose a threat to justice.

I Know My Rights: Self Advocates Share Their Perspectives
Disability Justice: Elusive and Inconsistent
Disability Demographics
Violent Crime and People with Development Disabilities
Dehumanization, Discrimination, and Segregation
Abuse and Exploitation of People with Developmental Disabilities