SHOW: THE FLIPSIDE 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
Transcript # 011301cb.l32
LENGTH: 1462 words
HEADLINE: The Disabilities Act: Supreme Court To Hear Discrimination Cases, CNNfn
BYLINE: Gerri Willis, Mary Snow, JJ Ramberg
GERRI WILLIS, CNNfn ANCHOR, THE FLIPSIDE: Today
the Supreme Court takes up the issue of state's rights versus the rights of the
disabled. The hearing centers on a case involving the state of
Joining us now
Lex welcome to THE FLIPSIDE.
LEX FRIEDEN, CHAIRMAN, NATL. COUNCIL ON DISABILITY: Thank you, I'm happy to be here with you today.
WILLIS: Now, I don't
know; but other people may be finding this story just a little bit confusing. Because we have all heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It was put in place, a long time ago, 14 years ago.
And I'm wondering what is the state of that act today?
Is it under siege? Does this case from
FRIEDEN: No, actually in my opinion, the Americans with Disabilities Act has had a profound impact on our whole society and particularly on people with disabilities. We have more people with disabilities working in this country now than any point in history. That's largely because of the non-discrimination provisions in the act. And more of us have more access to the broader society.
We can spend our
money virtually anywhere, in any theater, any restaurant, any shop. The act is
being enforced by the Justice Department, by the EEOC and by other appropriate
agencies. So, I think the act is moving along. I think we're stuck today, with
a question from
MARY SNOW, CNNfn ANCHOR, THE FLIPSIDE: Let's talk a little bit about this case in Tennessee. The Supreme Court is hearing it. A lot of attention paid to it, what's at stake?
at stake, in general is if
J.J. RAMBERG, CNNfn ANCHOR, THE FLIPSIDE: Can you tell me a little bit about the complaints that people have that they're arguing in this case? They're three defendants, is that correct? I mean prosecuting.
FRIEDEN: There are three individuals who are involved in the case. I think the most interesting one is the case of the individual who was called to court to defend himself. Arrived at the courthouse, found himself facing 48 steps. Then was called by the judge to be in contempt because he didn't arrive at the proper time in the courthouse. I think it's a little absurd.
Of course, he had the right to be there to defend himself. I don't think anybody can argue against that. Why the county in this case had not provided access to people with disabilities long ago, it's hard for me to understand that.
WILLIS: Lex, this case actually is sort of astonishing in its details, because the fellow bringing part of the suit, at least, actually crawled up some of these stairs. On his own, despite the fact some of the courthouse workers there said they offered to carry him. Sort of astonishing in its details, and yet you say that on the balance, on the whole, Americans with Disabilities Act is having an impact, it is being observed.
Are there other
states in the union, other than
you've asked a lot of questions. I think this case typifies the process of
adjudication, when it comes to these sweeping laws, in the sense that here,
And that applies
not only to
You ask about
costs. Costs of compliance for the
WILLIS: Right, well you know, whether you agree with us, whether you think that state's rights are more important than following the federal law give us a call. We want to hear from you, 1-800-304-3638. Send us an e-mail get in on the debate.
SNOW: Let's take a look at the big picture. In terms of how far the country's come since the Americans with Disabilities Act was first put into place in 1990. How far have we come?
FRIEDEN: Let me
give you an example in terms of real dollars. At this point in time, the
population of people with disabilities in the
that in our commerce, investing that in our economy. Making choices about
where to spend their money. Before the
So I think we've
had a profound effect on the economy. Look again at transportation. Before the
RAMBERG: Wow. We talked a lot about the progress that we have made. Where do we need to go? Are there any particular areas that your organization is looking at that we really need to take action in?
pre-occupied today, a little bit, with this Supreme Court case in Lane vs.
And many of those
people are not able to find jobs. We can speculate on the reasons for that.
Fifteen years ago, before the
So, I think employment is one of the great challenges that lie before us. I also think health care and rehabilitation for people with disabilities has been lost in the current debate about health care reform. I think there are issues pertaining to personal assistance services for those of us who need some help in the home. We don't have an infrastructure in this country that can provide with us that needed assistance.
As the population ages, in 2020 we'll have 75 million people over the age of 55. Many of them will, by the natural course of aging, become disabled. We have to solve these problems, look ahead and begin to address the issue of infrastructure for care for people in their homes as opposed to institutional care which is mainly that available today.
WILLIS: Lex, quickly we don't have a lot of time left. But if you can tell me the one thing that needs to happen in this country to help people with disabilities, what would it be?
FRIEDEN: Jobs, jobs, jobs.
WILLIS: And that's -- that is indeed a high hurdle. Lex, thanks so much for that. We appreciate having you on the show.
FRIEDEN: It's been a pleasure for me. Thanks for covering this issue.
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