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August 26, 2005

Gimp groups and Roberts: what's up? (with updates)

Lawrence comments on my Aug. 24 blog about gimp groups' silence over Judge John Roberts, directing me to a page on the American Association of People with Disabilities website, where the group has posted an updated analysis of Roberts's record provided by the Bazelon Center, which I had mentioned. And someone else emails me directly: ADA Watch has issued a position on Roberts, I'm told -- they oppose him, and it's on their website.
So it is.
And just a few minutes ago, as I was getting ready to write that I still didn't know if ADA Watch has contacted reporters or held a press conference -- I did another google news search and -- aha! they've now issued a statement on I-newswire:

ADA Watch/NCDR contacted Senator Arlen Specter today requesting that the disability community be represented at Judge John Roberts' hearing and praising Specter for his concerns about conservative "judicial activism" and the narrowing of the ADA.

They've certainly gotten attention before when they've opposed nominations. I hope they get lots of attention when they testify at the hearing.

Update of 8/26: ADAWatch's Jim Ward sent me a long email with links to all the coverage they've gotten -- which I missed! Read it here.. So now it's clear that ADAWatch has done quite a bit. The sad thing is that I missed it. But Jim Ward makes a good point about that in his response, which is here.
Have AAPD or Bazelon contacted reporters about the analysis, I wondered when I first wrote this blog entry. Now Jim Ward tells us that ADAWatch and Bazelon are working together. It's fine and good to do the analysis, but national disability groups, seems to me, have an obligation to contact reporters and hold press conferences and otherwise do pro-active things to get their opinions out into the general media circus where they can be part of the public debate. It's clear now that ADAWatch is doing the work -- but I'm still not clear about other groups. A good start might be for these groups to contact the AP reporter who wrote the story about Sen. Specter. As of 8/26 I still hadn't heard that any other group had done this, although Alan Toy comments about letters he's sent.
Given the hot-button news value of the Roberts nomination, it would surprise me a lot if reporters simply ignored a national disability group coming out against Roberts. I'm talking about more, now, than "analyzing" his record; I'm talking about taking a position. ADA Watch has taken a position.
Late yesterday afternoon I got an email from the Human Rights Campaign announcing their opposition to Roberts. Their email directed me to a web page they had created specifically to express opposition to the Roberts nomination -- the groups issuing this joint statement, says the web page, are the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. The page goes on to list the reasons they oppose Roberts. They cite his record on women's issues, on separation of church and state, and on environmental issues -- nothing, of course, about disability rights. I find myself wondering if that's because they don't know about the points made by the Bazelon analysis. How widely has the disability rights analysis been disseminated?
I have emails out to folks trying to get some answers to these things -- if I get answers I'll post them here (And read my further entry about ADAWatch here. Of course what would be best would be if AAPD and Bazelon and ADA Watch commented directly about these things on my comments area. That way we'd hear from the people who are in a position to tell us what we need to know.

Posted by mjohnson at August 26, 2005 09:03 AM