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History of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

ADA Advocacy at USD Law

USD Law students have the opportunity to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities under the ADA in our very own USD Legal Clinics: the Education and Disability Clinic and the Veterans Clinic. In the Education and Disability Clinic, law students represent and advocate for their clients, students with disabilities and their parents, in a variety of settings. In the Veterans Clinic, law students represent their veteran clients in disputes with for-profit educational institutions, which can include claims of ADA violations.

USD Law students can also take traditional courses that touch on the ADA such as Education Law and Employment Law.


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The law provides a broad array of civil rights protections for people with disabilities, including prohibitions against employment discrimination and mandates to make public accommodations accessible. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 expanded the definition of "disability," extending the law's protection to more people. While barriers and discrimination continue to exist (see this article by NYU Law professor Adam M. Samaha for more insight), the ADA has had a profound impact on the ability of people with disabilities to participate in public life.

President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 into law. Pictured (left to right): Evan Kemp, Rev Harold Wilke, Pres. Bush, Sandra Parrino, Justin Dart.

Above: President Bush signs the ADA into law.

Text and Legislative History

The ADA was enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008. These links will show you the text of the ADA and its legislative history.

Online Resources


Books Available at USD