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Ruth Colker

Distinguished University Professor

Heck Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law
Michael E. Moritz College of Law
The Ohio State University

Special Education Simulations
Student Accessibility Studies
Media Interviews
Useful Links

Adam A. Milani Disability Writing Competition

Students may receive awards up to $500 for a disability writing competition that Professor Colker helped create in memory of her co-author Adam Milani.  Deadline is June 1st

Entry rules are available on Mercer Law School website







Ruth Colker is a Distinguished University Professor and the Heck Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law at  The Ohio State University.  She is a nationally recognized expert in constitutional law, disability discrimination, feminist theory and gay rights.  She has been a recipient of the University's Distinguished Lecturer Award (2001), Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award (2002) Distinguished Scholar Award (2003), and Distinguished University Professor Award (2009).

The purpose of this website is to provide current information on projects and publications related to Colker's research and advocacy interests. 

2008 Milani Disability Writing Competition Winners
  • Abigail Blodgett, University of Oregon School of Law (Prof. Rebekah Hanley)

  • Paul Lawler, Florida State College of Law (Prof. Patricia Matthews)

  • Hana Nielsen-Kneisler, UC Berkeley School of Law (Prof. Lucinda Sikes)

Congratulations to these outstanding writers!

The Law of Disability Discrimination

Recent Publications

When is Separate Unequal?: A Disability Perspective (Cambridge University Press) (2009)

The Limits of Formal Equality, 69 Ohio State L. J. 1089 (2009)

Extra Time as an Accommodation, 69 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 413 (2008)

The Mythic 43 Million Americans with Disabilities, 49 William & Mary L. Rev. 1 (2007)

Anti-Subordination Above All: A Disability Perspective, 82 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1415 (2007)

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Friends, 68 Ohio State L. J. 517 (2007)

The Disability Integration Presumption:  Thirty Years Later, 154 U. Penn. L. Rev. 789 (2006)

Marriage Mimicry:  The Law of Domestic Violence, 47 William & Mary L. Rev. 1841 (2006)

The Future of Accessible Voting:  A Crossroad?, Election Law @ Moritz (April 18, 2006)

Recent Legal Decisions

American Council of the Blind v. Paulson , (D.C. Cir. May 20, 2008)

  • Violates federal law against disability discrimination for United States currency not to be accessible to individuals with visual impairments

National Pride at Work v. Governor of Michigan, No. 65870 (Court of Appeals Feb. 1, 2007)

  • Court of Appeals reverses lower court, concluding that state's anti-marriage amendment precludes same-sex benefits at University of Michigan

  • Notice that this decision is consistent with how Ohio state court judge in Brinkman, below, would likely have ruled if the case hadn't had standing problems

  • Decision affirmed by Michigan Supreme Court (May 7, 2008)

Brinkman v. Miami, No. CV 2005-11-3736 (Butler County Common Pleas, Ohio Nov. 2006) (granting summary judgment to defendant university on standing grounds in case challenging same-sex benefits)

  • Judge makes it clear he would rule for defendant-university if standing problems were resolved

  • Case is likely to be appealed by plaintiff

The lower courts are split on the CLS controversy -- whether law schools can force the Christian Legal Society to comply with their nondiscrimination policies as a condition of funding.

  • Christian Legal Society v. Walker, 453 F.3d 853 (7th Cir. 2006) (granting injunction to plaintiffs pending appeal)

    • the 7th circuit court also has the oral arguments
      available in audio

  • Christian Legal Society v. Kane, (9th Cir. 2009) (approving university nondiscrimination policy as applied to CLS)

  • On appeal, United States Supreme Court agreed with Ninth Circuit concluding that public universities may enforce their nondiscrimination policies against religious groups that seek full university recognition.  See Martinez v. CLS (U.S. 2010).

Evans v. City of Berkeley, 40 Ca.Rptr.3d 205 (2006) (city permitted to condition continued free use of city marina by volunteer young organization on its compliance with city's sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy)

  • This unanimous decision is consistent with the N.D. Calif. opinion in Christian Legal Society v. Kane, which I discussed in the April 2006 archives.

  • There are therefore two opinions from California -- N.D. Calif. and Calif. Supreme Court -- upholding the right of governmental officials to enforce a sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy over first amendment objections

Consulting Information

  • Professor Colker is available only a limited basis to consult on IDEA or ADA matters.

Copyright © 2006 Ruth Colker. All rights reserved. Last revised on Monday, July 05, 2010.

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