Crowds Of Advocates Show Up To Oppose Sutton Nomination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 30, 2003
WASHINGTON, DC--Wednesday the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to determine if Jeffrey Sutton should be confirmed to be a federal judge on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
So many disability rights activists showed up to oppose Sutton that the hearing had to be postponed and moved to a larger room.
Sutton is known in the disability community as the attorney who has argued against the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act in some very important cases.
For example, Sutton unsuccessfully argued in Olmstead v. LC & EW that keeping people in institutions was not a form of discrimination under the ADA.
But in Garret v. Alabama, Sutton successfully argued that Congress did not have the authority allow state employees to use the ADA to sue the state for damages when they have been discriminated against.
Hundreds of disability related organizations have joined in opposition to Sutton's confirmation.
"We will not go away quietly while we have someone like Jeffrey Sutton chipping away at our civil rights," said Sandi Weber, one of those protesting Sutton's nomination.
Sutton, an attorney from Columbus, Ohio, told the panel that he was just doing his job when he argued those and other cases.
But Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, pointed out that Sutton has also written articles for legal magazines and other publications in which he advocated many of the same positions that he took in court.
"You're not simply a lawyer who has chosen to represent cases," Schumer said. "You have been a passionate advocate who represents this point of view."
The committee is expected to vote on Sutton's confirmation sometime after next week.
In the meantime, leaders of the "Stop Sutton Campaign" are encouraging interested advocates to contact Senators with this message: "The Senate should reject this nominee and the President should advance judicial nominees with a commitment to justice rather than ideology."
The Ragged Edge Magazine is following the debate over Sutton's confirmation. Their Web page includes contact information for the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.