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Note - Places of Public Accommodation: Americans with Disabilities and the Battle for Internet Accessibility


Despite the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, today many Americans still lack equal rights. This includes the disabled community, which totals 56.7 million people. Although the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was a step in the right direction for disabled Americans, many people with disabilities are left in the dark when it comes to internet accessibility. Title III of the ADA specifically provides for equal access and enjoyment of goods and services offered to the public. This Note argues that websites should fall within the ADA’s definition of “place of public accommodation” and thus be subject to Title III ADA regulations. Currently the circuit courts are split in their understandings of whether a website falls within Title III’s regulations, and Congress has remained silent on the issue. This Note will provide background to the passage of the ADA, discuss the ongoing circuit split, explain the role of the U.S. Department of Justice in effecting this necessary change, propose and analyze an appropriate solution, and elaborate on what implementation of successful web accessibility standards would look like.