Disability Rights Advocates Warn Against Alito Nomination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 15, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC--Disability rights advocates are expressing concerns that President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court would significantly change how the court rules on issues that are important to people with disabilities.
In a statement released this week, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law called Judge Samuel Alito's record "long and troubling" when it comes to disability cases.
"While Judge Alito has written and joined some positive decisions, overall his nomination to the Supreme Court is a threat to people with disabilities," the Bazelon Center said in a press statement. "On the Supreme Court, his decisions would almost surely result in a range of restrictions on the hard-won rights of people with disabilities."
Of particular concern is the fact that Alito would be replacing Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been the deciding vote in a number of close votes on the high court, both strengthening and weakening the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other disability rights laws.
Based on Alito's 15-year history on U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Bazelon Center predicted that, if he is confirmed to the court, he would restrict Congress' power to enact disability rights laws, along with restricting enforcement of those rights.
In one case, ADAPT v. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Alito joined a decision which prevented people with disabilities and the disability rights group ADAPT from suing HUD for failing to enforce housing accessibility laws.
"This record strongly suggests that confirming Judge Alito to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice O'Connor would result in serious restrictions on the hard-won rights of individuals with disabilities," the statement read.
"A Threat to People with Disabilities" (Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law)
"Samuel Alitos Record on Disability Issues" (Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law)
"A 'special chair' for Jayne Nathanson" (Ragged Edge Magazine)
"In workplace cases, Alito usually sided with employer" (Star Tribune)