The Rehabilitation Act at Fifty

27 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2022 Last revised: 30 Dec 2022

Date Written: June 1, 2022


A few years ago, I published an article on the thirtieth birthday of the Americans with Disability Act. That article, The Americans with Disabilities Act at Thirty, 11 CAL. L. REV. ONLINE 308 (2020), has seen a great deal of success over these past two years. Inspired by that essay, this article celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of another very important disability rights law—the forerunner of the Americans with Disabilities Act—the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA). On September 26, 2023, the RA will turn fifty years old. To fully celebrate this law, and to properly wish it a happy fiftieth year and fiftieth birthday, this article will be divided as follows. Part I examines the history of disability rights prior to the adoption of the RA. Part II explores the life of the RA from the protests that led to its adoption and implementation to the standard doctrine associated with its various provisions. Part III then examines the future of the RA and offers several presents society could give that law in its fiftieth year.

Keywords: Rehabilitation Act, vicarious liability, damages, ADA Title II, immunity

Suggested Citation

Warden, Derek, The Rehabilitation Act at Fifty (June 1, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Derek Warden (Contact Author)

Louisiana Supreme Court ( email )

400 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
United States

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