Now that Republicans own the Senate, Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) thought he could quick get Jeffrey Sutton and two other reactionary Republicans confirmed to the federal bench. When more people with disabilities than could fit in the hearing room showed up, Hatch protested a move to make room.

Referring to the wheelchair users he said, "I will not have time taken to move you people!" and he
would gladly have shut out the folks who couldn't get in the door. Sen. Ted Kennedy had spotted a more spacious room open, so move they did. Hatch, though, was reportedly "furious."

School for afflictions

The hearing wore on for a total of twelve hours, nearly all of it focused on Sutton. He's the Ohio attorney who coordinated states' rights efforts in the 1999 Olmstead case. Hatch, hailing from another state that backed Tommy Olmstead's challenge to the ADA, hoped the assembled monsters would note that Sutton had been "raised in an environment of concern for the handicapped. His father ran a school for children afflicted with cerebral palsy."

Photo of Senator Hatch with his personal assistants.Hatch had to bang his gavel a bit when the crowd groaned over that trip down memory lane.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) told Sutton, "You are not simply a lawyer who has chosen to represent cases. You have been a passionate advocate who represents this point of view." In Olmstead, Sutton argued that "placing" disabled people in institutions is a matter of state economy, not discrimination.

A Mouth subscriber who was present for the hearing told us, "I've been around a lot of bureaucrats, but I've never seen anyone as skilled as Sutton at not answering questions." Even so, he will soon be a federal judge.

Jim Ward of ADA Watch in D.C. coordinated the disability nation's Stop Sutton campaign. To join the ADA Watch efforts, visit the website at www.adawatch.org.


Don't bother being born in Vancouver, if that would upset your mother's plans for perfection.

A Canadian Supreme Court Justice awarded $214,000 (U.S.) to the parents of a child born five years ago with Down Syndrome. The mother, who divorced her husband and abandoned their month-old child to his care, says her daughter's birth "totally disrupted our plans" and was entirely preventable.

Here's a good place to thank Dave Reynolds of Inclusion Daily Express. He's the man with the "quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination, and full inclusion around the world." You can sign up to get it at www.InclusionDaily.com.

In this Photo, many who were at first shut out of the hearing.


Photo of protester holding up his "Stop Sutton" button.




The NCIL march for the ADA in Washington, 2001.

Dust off your buttons and banners. On March 15 and 16 we march to save the ADA again. The march, in Sacramento this time, promises to be our biggest get-together since our speak-out at the 1997 Supreme Court. And it's not too late to pack up and get there.

What's at stake is Title II of the ADA our access to government programs and government jobs, our freedom from being "placed" where the government thinks we oughta be. Target of the march is California Governor Gray Davis whose state medical board denied a medical license to Dr. Michael J. Hason on the grounds that he has sought treatment for depression. (The doc's own shrink testified that Hason has never been a threat to his patients or to anyone else.)

As in the 1999 Olmstead case, many states are expected to file amicus briefs in Hason v. Medical Board of California. They don't like feeling forced to hire us or to remove barriers. What they don't like most is being sued. Under the ADA, people with disabilities may sue states in federal court. States believe that Congress has no authority to subject states to suits for money damages by crippled peons. Only one state, Minnesota, has announced it will file a brief in favor of Hason.

Is the ADA unconstitutional?

Don't think we can't lose it all. The Supreme Court has already gutted our employment rights under Title I, and will now, according to Ira Burnim of the Bazelon Center, "consider the very constitutionality of the ADA."

California is making exactly the argument Justice Scalia begged for in his opinion on the Olmstead case. Attorneys for Olmstead hadn't argued that Congress exceeded its authority with the ADA. California's position in the Hason suit is based almost entirely on that claim. The Supremes are likely warm to another opportunity to restore states' rights and take those uppity civil rights down a notch.

Announcing in January that it would hear the case, the Court didn't say when. March is the likely month, with a decision by June. HolLynn D'Lil, the March in March coordinator, notes that California has already argued and won in a federal appeals court that ADA injunctions against states are unconstitutional.

Our March in March will pressure California to drop its case. We want to be there to stop the ruination of our law. Don't you? We'd better get moving, fast.

Where to stay:

Susan Barnhill, 916-373-4006, email barnonhill@aol.com.


Richard Skaff, email rmskaff@attbi.com, or Warren Cushman, email sheela@mstar2.net.

Get more background here:

http://www.bazelon.org/issues/disabilityrights/legal/hason/ and http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/drn/marchmarch1.html.