January 09, 2006

Disability Groups Want Hearings to Press Alito on Disability Rights

As Senate hearings to confirm Judge Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court began, Justice For All released a letter sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter (R.-PA)and ranking committee member Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) signed by the American Association of People with Disabilite and the National Association of the Deaf. "We encourage you to use this week's confirmation hearings to clarify Judge Alito's views regarding Congressional authority to protect disability rights under the Constitution," they wrote.

The groups in their letter said they were concerned "about how Judge Alito might approach issues of federalism and states' rights in the context of the ADA and other disability rights laws." (Read the letter.)

In late December, both the AAPD and the National Association of the Deaf issued statements expressing "concern' about the Alito nomination.

NAD's statement says that

In the last decade, the Supreme Court has taken on a series of disability civil rights cases which have had the effect of undermining Congress’s authority under the United States Constitution to pass laws protecting individual rights of all Americans. Those cases and upcoming cases affect every aspect of life for individuals with disabilities.

NAD attorneys have reviewed Alito's rulings in the area of disability discrimination and congressional authority and are not certain that Alito will uphold laws that protect individuals' rights to participate in society. (Read statement.)

"It is critical that the Senate Judicial Committee gets a commitment from Alito that he will respect the ADA and Congress's authority," they say, and they want Sen. Specter to ask him questions about the ADA, and get answers from him.

Posted on January 09, 2006