Advocates Urge Texas A.G. To Back Away From Disability
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 16, 2004
AUSTIN, TEXAS--Disability rights advocates this week urged Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to remove himself from all cases that have to do with disability issues.
The advocates are responding to Abbott's decision to support the State of Tennessee in a case heard in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The case, Tennessee v. Lane, involves wheelchair users who tried to sue Tennessee for damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act because several county courthouses were not accessible to them. Tennessee argued that Congress did not have the right to allow individuals to sue state governments for damages when it passed the 1990 anti-discrimination law.
Texas is one of several states that have filed briefs in support of Tennessee's position in the case.
"This is going to have a terrible consequence for those of us in the handicapped community," said Texas Representative Paul Moreno at a Capitol news conference Thursday.
"The elimination of ADA would leave those of us who depend on the provisions of the act subject to the goodness of charity, and quite frankly we are tired of that," said Moreno, who has used a wheelchair since a 1953 diving accident.
"There's a lot of anger in the disability community," said Bob Kafka, organizer with grass-roots advocacy group ADAPT.
According to the El Paso Times, Abbott, who also uses a wheelchair, said efforts to remove him from such cases is "silly".
"I have a very simple job to do, and that is to enforce the constitution and the laws, and I will fulfill that responsibility," Abbott said.
"This is a policy issue for the Legislature to decide," he said. "They need to start working on coming up with solutions. Going around complaining won't get it done."
Abbott is also representing Texas in a pending class-action lawsuit filed by Arc of Texas and Advocacy Inc. The groups claim that the state has not provided enough community-based supports to Texans with developmental disabilities.
"State of Tennessee v. George Lane and Beverly Jones" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)