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Vill. L. Rev.


DISABILITY' nondiscrimination laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA),2 and the disability rights movement which spawned them have, at their core, a central premise that is both simple and profound. That premise is that people denominated as "disabled" are just people, not different in any critical way from other people. Paradoxically, commentators, enforcement agencies and the courts, with manifest good intentions, have frequently interpreted and applied these laws in ways that reinforce a diametrically opposite premise-that people with disabilities are significantly different, special and need exceptional status and protection, One is reminded of Justice Brandeis's admonition that citizens should be most on guard "when Government's purposes are beneficent" and that the greatest dangers arise from "encroachment by [people] of zeal, -well-meaning but without understanding."3