Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Memorial Tribute to Delegate Warren G. Stambaugh

Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Memorial Tribute to Delegate Warren G. Stambaugh

Article excerpt

Delegate Warren Stambaugh served as Arlington County's representative to the Virginia General Assembly from 1974 until his death on November 14, 1990. As a tribute to his involvement in the field of mental health legislation, the 14th Annual Symposium on Mental Health Law was dedicated to his memory. The comments below were excerpted from Richard Bonnie's remarks of dedication.

For almost ten years Warren Stambaugh was the legislative authority in the field of mental health law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was the primary patron for virtually all of the substantive legislation enacted in the field by the General Assembly over this period--the Virginians with Disabilities Act, the Inpatient Treatment of Minors Act, the surrogate medical decision-making legislation and various revisions of the civil commitment code (including, of course, some revisions of the civil commitment code that were not enacted).

Warren's legislative accomplishments in this and many other fields only begin to take the measure of the man and his contributions. Warren was regarded as a "liberal" politician. Whether or not this description was accurate in contemporary political terms, I know it was accurate in a more profound and important sense: Warren believed in the worth of the individual and in the society's obligation to respect and promote the dignity of each person. He believed that an affluent society--even one experiencing the kind of economic dislocations we are now having--has an affirmative responsibility to promote equal opportunity and equal citizenship for the less fortunate among us. …

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