Because I want to post something on my blog, here's another action alert. I had no idea another Supreme Court Judge was retiring until I got this email a few days ago. I don't have a TV, I've been sleeping a lot, and all radio DJs talk about is celebrity news (who cares?)
Here is another very important Action Alert to respond to. Now that Chief Justice John Paul Stevens has retired from the U.S. Supreme Court, it is the task of president Obama to appoint another person to fill his seat. Let the President know that it is important to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will uphold the rights of people with disabilities. We need a strong leader like Justice Stevens! Contact the White House (the numbers and email are below) and ask President Obama to: Choose a justice who understands the effects of Supreme Court decisions on people with disabilities, who will interpret disability rights laws broadly, and who respects the role of Congress in protecting disability rights.
Issue: Tell the President We Need a Disability Rights Leader Like Justice Stevens!
Action: Contact the White House at (202) 456-1111 (phone), (202) 456-6213 (TTY) or online at www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT and tell the President why he should name someone who will uphold the rights of people with disabilities. Ask President Obama to:
Background: Very soon, President Obama will name a replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court. For the past 35 years, Justice Stevens has been a strong voice on the Court for the disability community, consistently voting to protect the rights of people with disabilities in cases involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Choose a justice who will interpret disability rights laws broadly, as Congress intended.
- Choose a justice who understands the effect of Supreme Court decisions on people with disabilities.
- Choose a justice who respects the role of Congress in protecting disability rights.
The President now has his second opportunity to shape the Supreme Court for years to come. As he considers potential nominees, the stakes are high for people with disabilities.
Despite Congress's bipartisan passage in 2008 of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) to restore the law's broad reach after years of hostile court rulings, judges are still getting the ADA wrong - still shutting the courthouse door on people with disabilities. We need a leader every bit as strong as Justice Stevens to ensure full enforcement of the ADA and other important disability rights laws. Justice Stevens' replacement must be committed to the protection of disability rights.
The White House needs to hear now from advocates for people with disabilities.
Why this nomination is so critical:
President Obama has voiced his support for the values -- including independence, integration and equal opportunity -- expressed in federal disability rights laws such as the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Medicaid Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). To advance disability rights, we ask the President to:
Choose a justice who will give disability rights laws the broad remedial effect intended by Congress. In several significant decisions in the years before the ADAAA, the Supreme Court chipped away at core protections for people with disabilities. During this time, Justice Stevens concurred in important decisions affirming disability rights, including City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432 (1985); Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624 (1998); and Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999). In his dissent in Sutton v. United Air Lines, 527 U.S. 471 (1999), he argued forcefully that whether a person is disabled and thus protected by the ADA should be considered without regard to mitigating measures. Although his colleagues on the Court disagreed, Congress later followed Justice Stevens' dissent on this very point in enacting the ADAAA.
We want President Obama to select a justice who will interpret the ADA and other disability rights laws as broadly as Congress intended, so that all people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and at work and to lead independent lives in their communities.
Choose a justice who understands the effect of Supreme Court decisions on people with disabilities. Supreme Court decisions have consequences, not just for the parties before the court, but for everyone. For example, when the Supreme Court ruled that Casey Martin, a golfer with a mobility disability, could use a golf cart on the PGA tour, this made it easier for everyone, including students and workers (not just golfers), to get the accommodations they need for an equal opportunity. Justice Stevens authored the decision in P.G.A. Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 432 U.S. 661 (2001). Similarly, the Court's recent decision in Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. T.A., 129 S. Ct. 2484 (2009), also authored by Justice Stevens, made it easier for families everywhere to access special education for children with disabilities when public schools have failed to provide needed services.
We want President Obama to choose a justice who understands how important Supreme Court decisions are to the everyday lives of people with disabilities.
Choose a justice who respects the role of Congress in protecting disability rights. In enacting the ADA and other disability rights laws, Congress carefully considered the history of people with disabilities in the United States. The lawmakers acknowledged that many people with disabilities have been ostracized from their families and communities - prevented from going to their neighborhood schools, from working at jobs for which they were qualified and from participating in all aspects of community life. Congress passed laws like the ADA to combat these problems. But in recent years, the Supreme Court has declared that Congress lacked the power to pass some of these laws. Justice Stevens disagreed. For example, he authored the ruling in Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509 (2004), that Congress could require states to make courthouses and the entire justice system accessible to people with disabilities. Lower courts have followed this ruling, holding that the ADA requires states to provide access in schools, hospitals, and prisons.
We want President Obama to choose a Supreme Court justice who will respect Congress's important role and hard work in writing and enacting the disability rights laws on which so many people with disabilities depend for protection from discrimination and an equal opportunity to succeed in life.
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ADA, it is especially crucial that President Obama name, as Justice Stevens' replacement, a disability rights champion for the 21st Century Supreme Court.