On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for Acheson Hotels LLC v. Laufer. The court will examine whether Deborah Laufer, a disabled advocate, can sue hotels for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), despite having no intention to visit them.

Civil rights advocates fear that the court has the potential to gut one of the main enforcement mechanisms of the ADA. They also fear that the court’s decision could have a more far-reaching impact on other civil rights law.

“The current Supreme Court has not proven to be a champion of civil rights. There is concern about what could happen with this case, both with the ADA and in the broader context of civil rights enforcement,” said Michelle Uzeta, deputy legal director of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

It is impossible to know for certain how the court will rule. Disability advocates had dire predictions in another recent Supreme Court case, Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski. But the court ruled 7-2 in favor of preserving the ability of people with disabilities and their families to sue over problems with federally funded programs.

“I think the big question is going to be how the court interprets harm here, how it slices and dices this,” said Jasmine Harris, a professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Harris School of Law.

What will this mean for broader civil rights law? 

The Supreme Court’s ruling on standing could also impact other civil rights enforcement. The NAACP and nonprofit organizations for fair housing have also filed amicus briefs in the case.

“At stake here with tester standing and related jurisprudence are the core tools that are essential to effectuate our civil rights laws. If the Supreme Court were to roll back that decision, it would be detrimental to the ability to address discrimination and segregation and their harmful impacts on protected classes across a range of statutes, protecting people with disabilities across public accommodations, but also dealing with civil rights statutes at their core in the housing and employment contexts,” said Morgan Williams, general counsel for the National Fair Housing Alliance, which advocates against racial and other forms of discrimination in housing.

“This decision threatens to dismantle the investigative tools that are central to, that are essential for civil rights enforcement in the modern era,” he said.

Read the full article about Acheson Hotels LLC v. Laufer by Sara Luterman at The 19th.