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Senator Murray Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on Discrimination Victims’ Right to Sue for Damages

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, which limits the right of victims of discrimination to obtain damages for the emotional harm they suffer because of the discrimination.


“The Supreme Court ruled that the humiliation, frustration and emotional distress that Jane Cummings experienced when she was refused accommodations for her disability didn’t matter—that only a financial loss counted. This decision impacts people with disabilities and patients who are discriminated against simply because of who they are—and that’s just plain wrong.


Congress has passed laws to protect against discrimination and allow those who experience it to get the justice and restitution they deserve—and I’m going to do everything I can to fix this injustice.”


In a 6-3 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, ruled that victims of discrimination cannot sue under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Affordable Care Act to recover damages for emotional distress caused by illegal discrimination. The Court’s decision will deny many victims of discrimination an appropriate remedy.