Release Date: 
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind to Hold Symposium on Disability Law

Conference Will Celebrate the Work of Blind Disability Law Pioneer

Baltimore, Maryland (November 14, 2007): The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute will gather leading scholars and practitioners in the field of disability law at a symposium to be held April 10–11, 2008.  The symposium, “Disability Law: From tenBroek to the Twenty-first Century,” will examine the current status of both American and international disability law and will act as a forum in which to discuss future change in the disability law of the United States.  The conference will also explore the life and work of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek (1911-1968), the founder and first president of the National Federation of the Blind.  The Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights will publish the symposium.  Papers will be presented by:

  • Peter Blanck, University Professor and Chairman, Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University
  • Robert Burgdorf, Professor of Law, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
  • Robert Dinerstein, Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law
  • Chai Feldblum, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Michael Stein, Professor of Law, College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law

Dr. Marc Maurer, an attorney and President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “Dr. Jacobus tenBroek pioneered the field now known as disability law in his speeches, in his scholarly articles, and through his work as founding president of the National Federation of the Blind.  This symposium will celebrate his life and work; but equally important, participants will discuss how to meet contemporary challenges in disability law and carry Dr. tenBroek’s dream of equality for disabled Americans well into the future.”

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek was a constitutional law scholar, a blind professor at Berkeley, and an author of treatises on the Fourteenth Amendment and social welfare.  Dr. tenBroek created the concept that civil rights should apply to disabled Americans, and he published extensively on the application of the law to those with disabilities.  His efforts to advance civil rights for the blind and others with disabilities included drafting the Model White Cane Law, which has had a profound influence on the development of civil rights laws for the disabled throughout the United States, and publishing authoritative articles like “The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts,” 54 CAL. L. REV. 841 (1966).

For more information on the symposium and how to register, visit  Seating is limited to three hundred participants.  Documentation for CLE credits will be provided.