US Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Rights Protection

The US Supreme Court made a very good decision recently. The story is found in an AP release, Court reinstates Va. mental health lawsuit.

The Supreme Court says Virginia’s advocate for the mentally ill can sue to force state officials to provide records relating to deaths and injuries at state mental health facilities.

What was going on here?

The Virginia mental health commissioner was trying to hamstring the state’s protection and advocacy agency by refusing to hand over information pertinent to human rights violations in that state. The state, in the person of the commissioner, was trying to use 11th Amendment of the US Constitution, an amendment designed to protect one state from intrusive actions on the part of another state, to justify not submitting to such a suit.

VOPA, Virginia’s protection and advocacy agency, can’t do its job if it’s denied access to information.

Protection and advocacy agencies are oversight agencies that were federally mandated after an uproar arose over institutional mistreatment during the 1970s.

The justices, in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday, reinstated the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy lawsuit against Virginia’s mental health commissioner and two other officials.

This was the right decision to come to, and our Supreme Court justices deserve praise for arriving at it.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., had dismissed the state advocate’s lawsuit. The issue for the court was whether the Eleventh Amendment prohibits a state agency from going to federal court to sue officials of the same state.

This decision sets a precedent that is bound to help other states better protect their citizens in institutional settings from harm and abuse as well.

5 Responses

  1. Decisions like this even though they are correct are token and not specific to a particular case that can be easily demonstrated or prosecuted in the present.

    The shrinks will always be given permission to spin. They will express regret over things that happened far away and long ago.

    • If the Supreme Court had ruled differently the protection and advocacy agencies could have been rendered completely useless. The Virginia Commissioner of mental health was trying to render Virginia’s P & A useless. How can the P & A protect people if it is denied access to knowledge of any harm that comes to them? It can’t do so. People could complain to the P & A, but the P & A would have no way to verify those complaints. Mental health departments could then withhold evidense from the agency responsible for protecting people in the care of those departments. This in effect would be like giving the mental health agencies a license to kill those people in their care. Nothing would come of it, nobody would know. The P & A then gives people in institutions at least some modicum of protection. When the P & A is allowed to do its job, and a major wrong is discovered, then the feds are called into clean up the mess. Prevent the P & A from doing it’s job, and the results of every sort of abusive mistreatment and malpractice could then just be swept under the rug.

      • You said – “This in effect would be like giving the mental health agencies a license to kill those people in their care.”

        Yeah well this is the point of your whole blog.

        They do. They have permission. And they have permission to lie to the public that any death or injury is the result of mental illness.

  2. Not on topic so remove it if you want of course.

    Just tonight, watching and listening while I’m making a really nice calzone. So nice, that I’m seriously considering that all other forms of nutrition should be outlawed.

    This absolute garbage, piece of shit American fucking trash docco about pregnant prisoners. The patronizing voice over is just nauseating. The shots of these women earnestly parroting garbage that is itself parroted by assholes masquerading as social workers… pwaa. Find me a bucket.

    You might know, might have seen the one I’m talking about.

    Sure, most of the subjects of the docco are people that I wouldn’t take home. But I don’t need patronizing god fearing imbeciles dressed up as social workers to tell me that. Neither does it need to be suggested that any of the people I see in the docco: prisoners, social workers, whatever are mentally ill. They are basically just people I don’t fucking like.

  3. I’m arguing that mental health agencies kill and maim people. I’m not saying they have any permission to do so. The claim is that what is being done to the patient is in the best interests of the patient, and I think that it can be demonstrated that this is just not so. Biological medical model psychiatry calls the drugs medicine it gives to people labeled psychotic. Neuroleptic drugs though have no real medicinal qualities. These drugs cause a great deal of harm, and doctors would be saving lives if they didn’t prescribe them the way they do. I’m not saying that the damage caused by these doctors is always intended, nor am I saying that they don’t usually think they are providing a beneficial service. The reality of the situation is at something of a remove from the intentions and presumed aim. Doctors tend to think they are performing a necessary service when they harm their patients. They also tend to hide the fact of this damage from their conscious minds for the obvious reason that acknowledgement of this damage would mean they would also have to acknowledge guilt.

    Many of the P & A’s can be faulted with not understanding the relationship between psychotropic drugs and iatrogenic disease. If the acquired disease is seen as a unintended consequence of taking “medicine”, it is seen as unavoidable consequence of an acceptable trade off. This “acceptable” trade off isn’t acceptable at all in my book. When this means an early grave, you can imagine the falling digits when it comes to the valuation we put on human life were there a machine designed to gauge this value. Actually, even where P & A’s do understand this relationship, their hands have been tied by other Supreme Court decisions. This doesn’t mean that when somebody dies in a hospital there shouldn’t be an investigation.

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