Friday, July 28, 2006

Can't Say I'm Surprised

I received the article below from ADA Watch as an email. I thought I would share it with you...

President, Congress Fail to Lead on ADA Restoration Act -- 16th ADA Anniversary and the Unfulfilled Promise of Historic Disability Rights Law

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2006 – Today we acknowledge the 16th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – and yet another year of inaction on ADA restoration proposals put forth by the President’s own advisors.

In 2004, responding to years of court decisions that have significantly weakened the ADA, the National Council on Disability (NCD) – whose 15 members were nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate – released comprehensive legislative recommendations for restoring civil rights protections for children and adults with physical, mental, cognitive and developmental disabilities.

Upon release of the NCD report, Cox News Service reporter, Andrew Mollison, predicted:

“Since the council members are Bush appointees, their recommendation is expected to receive serious consideration by the Republican-controlled Congress. The president is also expected to sympathize, because he pushed hard in his first term for cheaper but better ways to get jobs for adults with disabilities, and the proposed revision of the ADA wouldn't require higher federal spending.”

Despite former and current Republican members of Congress crying “foul” in response to the weakening of the ADA – Ohio Republican Senator Mike DeWine, for example, has said that he is "deeply troubled by the Court’s lack of deference to Congress." – no support has come from the White House or the Congressional leadership to advance NCD’s blueprints for restoring the ADA.

Jim Ward, Founder and President of ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights, explains that 16 years after passage of the ADA, “more than 96% of employment case under the ADA are dismissed on “summary judgment” – meaning that the facts of the alleged discrimination are never given a fair hearing. Furthermore, people with disabilities such as epilepsy, diabetes, mental illness and more are routinely denied justice and labeled “not disabled enough” by judges who narrowly interpret the intent of Congress in passing the ADA.

“Despite widespread agreement that the courts are misinterpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act, neither the White House or Congress has responded to the urgent need to reverse the damage done. Neither the White House nor Congress has heeded NCD’s recommendations for legislatively restoring the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

“This shameful inaction and delay by the White House and Congressional leaders, leaves unfulfilled America’s promise of equal justice and opportunity for citizens with disabilities.”

ADA Watch/NCDR is an alliance of hundreds of disability, civil rights and social justice organizations united to defend and advance the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the human rights of children and adults with physical, mental, cognitive and developmental disabilities. More information can be found at