National Council on Disability Urges Congress to Support Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration
Sept. 13, 2007
WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability (NCD) today urged Congress to support legislation that will “right” the course of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and protect the civil rights of people with disabilities.
ADA restoration bills were introduced in the House (H.R. 3195) and the Senate (S.1881) on July 26, 2007. NCD proposed the original ADA legislation, and is charged with gathering information about the implementation, effectiveness, and impact of the ADA. In keeping with this requirement, NCD undertook a two-year study to analyze 19 Supreme Court cases interpreting the ADA and, in December 2004, released a comprehensive report entitled Righting the ADA(/publications/2004/righting_ada).
According to NCD chairperson John R. Vaughn, “NCD’s study revealed that the majority of the Supreme Court’s rulings involving the ADA depart substantially from the core principles and objectives of the ADA, resulting in unfair outcomes that sanction, rather than remedy, even the most egregious employment discrimination against people with disabilities.”
“Countless federal court cases have followed, in which an employer refuses to hire or accommodate an individual with a disability because of the disability, but then is allowed to argue that the person does not have a disability. Rarely are the individual’s qualifications for the job evaluated, nor is the alleged discrimination examined.
The purpose of the ADA is ‘to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.’ While the provisions of the ADA addressing architectural, transportation, and communication accessibility have been implemented with notable success, the employment provisions of the ADA essentially have been rewritten by the Supreme Court, such that these provisions no longer provide the opportunities and protections expressly intended by those involved in the creation and passage of the ADA.
NCD’s two recent ADA reports, Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Challenges, Best Practices, and New Opportunities for Success (/publications/2007/implementation) and The Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Assessing the Progress Toward Achieving the Goals of the ADA (/publications/2007/ada_impact) both confirm that legislation is urgently needed to restore the ADA to ensure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for all Americans with disabilities,” Vaughn concluded.
NCD is an independent federal agency and is composed of 15 members appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. It provides advice to the President, Congress, and executive branch agencies to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability, and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.