Crippled Justice



256 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2001

Crippled Justice, the first comprehensive intellectual history of disability policy in the workplace from World War II to the present, explains why American employers and judges, despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, have been so resistant to accommodating the disabled in the workplace. Ruth O’Brien traces the origins of this resistance to the postwar disability policies inspired by physicians and psychoanalysts that were based on the notion that disabled people should accommodate society rather than having society accommodate them.

O’Brien shows how the remnants of postwar cultural values bogged down the rights-oriented policy in the 1970s and how they continue to permeate judicial interpretations of provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In effect, O’Brien argues, these decisions have created a lose/lose situation for the very people the act was meant to protect. Covering developments up to the present, Crippled Justice is an eye-opening story of government officials and influential experts, and how our legislative and judicial institutions have responded to them.


1. “Deform’d, Unfinish’d, and Maladjusted”: The Psychoanalytical Model of Disability
2. From Warehouses to Rehabilitation Centers: Restoring the Whole Man
3. From the Whole Man to the Whole Family: Rehabilitating the Poor
4. An Accident of History: Rights and the Passage of the Rehabilitation Act
5. Court Constraints on Disability Rights
6. Two Horns of a Dilemma: The Americans with Disabilities Act
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