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Harkin Calls on Supreme Court to Uphold the Americans with Disabilities Act
 
November 9th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Goodman v. Georgia. Tony Goodman, the plaintiff in the case, is an inmate with paraplegia who uses a wheelchair for mobility. He was held in the Georgia State Prison for more than 23 hours a day in a cell so narrow he could not turn his wheelchair. Further, the state prison failed to make toilet and bathing facilities accessible to him, denied him needed medical care and excluded him from programs and activities because of his disability. The Court will decide whether people with disabilities can bring action against states that refuse to make prisons accessible to people with disabilities.
 
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the lead sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the Senate and chair of the Senate Subcommittee on the Handicapped when the law was passed in 1990, attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court and released the following statement, calling upon the Supreme Court to uphold Title II of the ADA and hold states liable for discrimination against people with disabilities. 
 
“Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect the rights of people with disabilities against all those who sought to undermine them. Congress compiled overwhelming evidence of discrimination against people with disabilities including discrimination by state governments, and this extensive record must be considered by the Court in this case. We had 25 years of testimony and reports on disability discrimination. Fourteen congressional hearings and 63 field hearings by a special congressional task force were held in the three years prior to passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We received boxes loaded with thousands of letters and pieces of testimony gathered in hearings and town hall meetings across the country from people whose lives had been damaged or destroyed by discrimination. We had mark ups in 5 different committees and had over 300 examples of discrimination by states.
 
“The Court must stand with Mr. Goodman and the thousands of other Americans with disabilities who face discrimination by states. The ADA protects rights and freedoms of the 54 million Americans with disabilities, and the Supreme Court must not undermine this protection.”
 
harkin.senate.gov

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