Disability Organizations are opposing Nomination of Kavanaugh and here is why.
Kavanaugh Thinks It’s Okay to Perform Elective Surgery on People Without Their Consent
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Right now, Congress is in a deadlock over Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Senators are reviewing more than 1 million pages of his legal writing—which have laid out his stance on women’s reproductive rights (opposed), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (opposed), and the Affordable Care Act (opposed)—and members are battling over access to additional documentation that could reveal past experience with torture and wiretapping. While many of Kavanaugh’s opinions have been controversial—in particular his dissent from a decision that allowed an immigrant woman to have an abortion—one of his most problematic rulings has gone unreported. As a Judge in D.C. Circuit Court, Kavanaugh argued that people with disabilities could be forced to undergo elective surgeries, including abortion, without their consent.
In 2001, three intellectually disabled D.C. residents brought suit against the city in Doe ex rel. Tarlow v. D.C, after they were subjected to at least three involuntary procedures: two abortions and one elective eye surgery. Ultimately, the district court agreed that these women’s due process rights had been violated and that “constitutionally adequate procedures” had not been followed. The District Court ruled for the plaintiffs and held that D.C. must make “documented reasonable efforts to communicate” with patients and if unsuccessful, the government had to take into account the “totality of circumstances” before proceeding to ensure any decision is in the best interest of the patient. This decision codified patients’ right to self-determination, and struck down the practice of elective surgeries without consent from the patients at stake.
The lifetime pass Kavanaugh seems to be arguing for does not exist.
On appeal, Judge Kavanaugh vacated the District Court’s injunction, arguing that “accepting the wishes of patients who lack, and have always lacked the mental capacity to make medical decisions does not make logical sense.” That stands in contrast to even the most conservative interpretations of the laws that existed at the time, which required two separate health professionals to determine whether a patient had the capacity to make medical decisions before every procedure. The lifetime pass Kavanaugh seems to be arguing for, which would allow doctors to perform any procedures they wanted on a person who was once ruled unfit, does not exist.
One hundred years ago, Kavanaugh’s ruling would have been at home on the Supreme Court. In the 1920’s, in the famous 8-1 ruling of Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court found a Virginia statute that allowed for the sexual sterilization of a third generation, “feebleminded” women was constitutional because “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
For context, when the Supreme Court made that ruling, John Scopes had recently been put on trial for teaching evolution in public schools. Penicillin hadn’t been invented. It was still illegal in most states to marry someone of a different race. There was no such thing as a chocolate chip cookie, Scotch tape, or the Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t know Pluto existed.
The 57 million Americans with disabilities are bracing themselves
We’ve made progress since then. Twenty-eight years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act granted people with disabilities access to society. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act expanded the right to an education 43 years ago, and the Olmstead v. L.C. decision gave disabled people the right to live in their communities 19 years ago. All that will be meaningless the moment Kavanaugh is given a seat on the Supreme Court that allows him to rule that disabled Americans are not capable of deciding what’s best for them. It’s not hard to imagine that happening. He could rule that it’s okay for teachers to use seclusion and restraint because they know what’s best for the treatment of disabled children in school. He could say that community living isn’t the best option for someone successfully living in a home of their own because that’s what the nursing home lobby says.
As both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate gear up for what is likely to be a long hearing process, the 57 million Americans with disabilities are bracing themselves for the negative consequences of Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment. If that happens, the disability community’s history of activism in all forms—from their work to preserve the ACA, to fighting to end the use of electric shock therapy on children, to pushing for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work—shows that when it’s most needed, the moral arc of the universe can be bent into a ramp to achieve justice.
AUCD Opposes the Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States
July 31, 2018
| Plain Text Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (286KB) [download]
Statement Nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (236KB) [download]
>>Download and read a PDF plain language summary as well as the full text of AUCD’s statement at right
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a national organization that supports the right of self-determination for individuals with intellectual and other disabilities. After carefully reviewing opinions that fail to affirm this right and jeopardize access to healthcare for people with disabilities, AUCD has decided to oppose the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. “The appointment of Judge Kavanaugh threatens civil rights protections for people with disabilities including access to healthcare,” said Andrew Imparato, Executive Director of AUCD. “Judge Kavanaugh’s record on the D.C. Circuit has failed to support the critical principle of self-determination for people with intellectual disabilities and the importance of access to healthcare for millions of Americans with disabilities.” Two cases in Judge Kavanaugh’s record form the primary basis for our concerns.
In the 2007 ruling DOE v. District of Columbia and Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Administration, Judge Kavanaugh ruled that people with intellectual disabilities could be presumed incompetent to make medical decisions:
Judge Kavanaugh overruled multiple district court orders that had given people with intellectual disabilities who had been deemed not legally competent the right to have input into whether or not they would be subject to elective surgery. The lower courts had affirmed that a legally incompetent individual may be capable of expressing a choice or preference regarding medical treatment. The court therefore ordered the District of Columbia to make “documented reasonable efforts to communicate” with patients “regarding their wishes.” If communication was unsuccessful and a patient’s wishes couldn’t be determined, however, the lower court had allowed the government to determine the patient’s “best interests” by considering the “totality of the circumstances.”
In his written decision, Judge Kavanaugh neither acknowledged nor appeared to consider that a person could have an intellectual disability but still might understand the nature of a surgery or have a right to know, think about, or decide whether to undergo a procedure. Making an effort to communicate was viewed as an unnecessary standard to apply to the government when it wanted to perform surgery on a person with an intellectual disability because, in Judge Kavanaugh’s words, they were “by definition” incompetent so their input was not relevant to the decision. In his view, the Constitution would not protect people with intellectual disabilities from a state agency policy that allowed non-emergency elective surgery without informing them or making any effort to ascertain whether they wanted it. Liz Weintraub, Senior Advocacy Specialist at AUCD, commented on the ruling, “As a woman with an intellectual disability, I know what it is like for other people to try to make decisions about my life, my relationships, and my body. Judge Kavanaugh seems to think people like me don’t deserve a say in our own healthcare, and that to me is dangerous, discriminatory, and shows he doesn’t really understand the idea of ‘nothing about us without us’.”
Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder illustrates his belief that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional:
Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent from the D.C. Circuit Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act reflects his view that the law is unconstitutional and beyond the power of Congress. He rejected all of the government’s defenses of the ACA, concluding specifically that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance could not be justified under either the Taxation or Spending Clauses of the Constitution. Judge Kavanaugh’s rationale for overturning on the ACA was so extensive that it formed the basis of the four-vote dissent that would have struck down the ACA at the Supreme Court. “The Affordable Care Act is what stopped insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing conditions, making it foundational to the lives of people with disabilities. If Judge Kavanaugh leads the Supreme Court to overturn the ACA, people with disabilities will lose access to health insurance and affordable medical care,” says AUCD Executive Director Andrew Imparato.
AUCD urges individuals and organizations to learn about Judge Kavanaugh’s record on the DC Circuit and use this opportunity to educate your Senators about the importance of self-determination and access to healthcare for millions of Americans with disabilities and their families.
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities, located in Silver Spring, MD, is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes and supports the national network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. For more information, visit www.aucd.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t ban the plastic straw
There has been much hype in recent days about the plastic drinking straw. Many organisations, hospitality venues, exhibition centres and local government organisations are jumping on the popularist bandwagon and banning or removing single-use plastic straws. The city of Seattle has gone one stage further and introduced a fine for any establishment providing a straw to a customer.
The trouble with this type of reaction and action is that it is knee-jerk and based on the popularist ideology that concern for the environment trumps everything. Further, there is a perception that concern for the environment is a vote or customer winner.
But like all rash knee-jerk reactions, decisions based on popularist ideology are seldom thought through and environmental pushes have a history of marginalising people with a disability.
Plastic straws are not a luxury for some they are a necessity
Many people with a disability lack the hand or arm dexterity to drink conventionally from a glass, cup, mug or bottle. The straw is an essential tool for everyday participation in life, whether that is daily living, social engagement, travelling or work environments. The basic bendable straw has been a major technological breakthrough and enabler for those reliant on them. Independence is something that every human being has a right to and it is not something that should not be taken away by decisions around a board table looking to score CSR brownie points or politicians looking to shore up the “green” vote. Let’s remember that people with a disability are now the largest minority group in the world and with an ageing population now have considerable voting clout. Further, people with a disability are on track to control 50% of the tourism and leisure spend by 2020, a sobering consideration for those organisations in hospitality and tourism banning straws.
When you consider all of the environmental issues in the world and climate change is the humble plastic straw the “thing” you really want to hang your environmental credentials on?
What about the alternatives
- Paper straws breakdown in hot liquids
- Paper straws also breakdown over a period
- Glass straws can break with involuntary jaw movements causing injury
- Metal straws can break teeth with involuntary jaw movements
- Bamboo straws can’t bend and are difficult to clean
- Bamboo straws can also break teeth
- Bio-degradable straws breakdown in temperatures over 40 degree celsius
- Carrying your own straw is often impracticable and unhygienic
In short, there are currently no practical alternatives to the single-use plastic bendable straw.
By all means, stop issuing straws to all and sundry, but have them available to those that require them to participate equally in social life or work environments. It is not only the socially the right thing to do, but in many parts of the world, it is a requirement under various disability discrimination acts including the US ADA and Australia’s DDA. Further, for those countries that have ratified the UNCRPD, local governments would find it very difficult to justify bans under that convention.
Need more convincing?
There has been some excellent editorial commentary over the last few days. Here are some samples:
Action on plastics shouldn’t make life suck for disabled people – Greenpeace
For many with disabilities, plastic straws are essential – not frivolous – The Globe and Mail
THE ABLEIST FIGHT OVER PLASTIC STRAWS – bitch media
There’s an unexpected downfall to banning plastic straws. Here’s what to consider. – Upworthy
Many issues here at home are going to affect our independence. So we have to get involved now.
On the Federal Level
Many disabled people are extremely concerned about threats to Medicaid, which will likely be targeted for significant cuts in 2018 — in part to pay for the GOP tax bill. Medicaid provides key health services to millions of disabled and/or low-income Americans. Consider contacting your legislators to let them know you support Medicaid funding and don’t want to see the venerable program converted to block grants or subjected to extreme cuts.
The Disability Integration Act and the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.
The Disability Integration Act explicitly affirms the right of disabled people to live in their communities — something vital for civil rights and full inclusion, but also incidentally less expensive than institutionalization. Make sure your legislators support it.
The ADA Education and Reform Act would introduce significant barriers that will make it harder to file ADA-related lawsuits. Proponents claim this will resolve the problem of nuisance lawsuits, but they neglect to mention that lawsuits are the only way to force businesses to comply with the ADA — a law that has been in effect for 27 years. It will be harder for disabled people to access their communities if this law passes, so make sure your legislators oppose it.
Education Policies: Many disabled students first. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made it clear that she doesn’t think disabled students are entitled to an education, and she’s trying to dismantle key legal protections that keep disabled kids thriving in school. Equity and fairness in housing, employment and other aspects of life are also under threat on the federal level.
There are so many issues that affect PWD in the coming year. So here are a few to keep an eye on.
- Fair Housing
- Health: Medicaid & Medicare
- Civil Rights
On the State Level
We face many issues from current Republicans Leadership, so it is important to educate them through advocacy. We know that states have a tremendous amount of power when it comes to passing civil rights legislation, prioritizing health care spending, extending anti-discrimination protections and more. It’s time to lean on state lawmakers. If the federal government won’t protect the disability community, we need to make sure that our state does.
Our voting rights, education access, and employment discrimination. Join the Nevada RevUP Campaign
Since 2015, a variety of national organizations have been working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Congress to stop CMS from inappropriately using Medicare Competitive Bid Program (CBP) pricing to cut payment amounts for accessories used with Complex Rehab wheelchairs. CMS published a policy clarification stating it would not use
CBP pricing for accessories used with Complex Rehab power wheelchairs, but unfortunately did not extend relief to accessories used with Complex Rehab manual wheelchairs.
Congressional action is needed! Legislation has been introduced- H.R. 3730- and we need people from across the country to reach out to their Members of Congress to ask for support and passage of the bill. Go to www.protectmymobility.org and send the prepared emails asking for support of the legislation.
Join people with disabilities, families, and advocates around the country as we make sure our senators phones are ringing off the hook with opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill.
Call the Senate switchboard at: 202-224-3121
Use this sample script and talking points:
Let them know that people with disabilities rely on Medicaid for the services that enable them to live and participate in the community. You oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill or any other bill that cuts, caps, or block grants Medicaid.
We’ll continue to add resources over the next few days.
How to Call Your Elected Officials
We are working on stories from Service Providers and Patients who are having problems with Nevada Medicaid on these topics.
- Children with Special Needs in Rural Areas with Medicaid
- No medical physicians to take Pediatrics kids with disabilities in Northern Nevada due to Medicaid Coverage.
- Obtaining CRT or DME (Wheelchairs or power wheelchairs)
please send your comments to NVDisabiity@gmail.com.
Or take this survey
Create your survey with SurveyMonkey
Nevada Disability Coalition announces participation with AAPD Announces REV UP Campaign – Making the DISABILITY VOTE Count
Nevada Disability Coalition is proud to be the Nevada Link to REVup.
We are partingin with AAPD to participate in the REVup
5. The disability community has a huge stake in state and federal results of the November election. Justin Dart, father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), said “Vote as if your life depended on it, because it does.”
4. At a level that has never been achieved before, national and state disability organizations are actively registering voters and planning get out the DISABILITY VOTE activities leading up to Election Day. These include the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living(APRIL), #CripTheVote, the DO Network, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), REV UP Massachusetts, REV UP Texas, the Texas Disability Project, #VoteDisability, and several other state and local disability rights organizations.
3. REV UP campaigns have kicked off in several states with more joining daily. California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and DC are actively organizing the DISABILITY VOTE.
2. National and local elections will be affected as REV UP increases the political power of the disability community by getting more people with disabilities registered and committed to vote on election day while simultaneously engaging candidates for public office and the media on disability issues. While currently focused on the upcoming election, the REV UP Campaign is committed to continuing to engage people with disabilities in communities across the country through 2016 and beyond.
1. There are nearly 30 million people with disabilities eligible to vote when registered. This number does not even include “the ripple effect” of family, friends, and service professionals who will vote in-line with disability interests. During National Disability Voter Registration Week, REV UP Campaigns around the country will make a concerted effort to get more people with disabilities registered to vote, educate voters about issues and candidates, promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country, engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters’ right to participate in elections.
For more information on the REV UP Campaign, National Disability Voter Registration Week, and how to start organizing in your state please visit www.aapd.com/REVUP. The REV UP Campaign offers a host of resources on the 2016 election, registering to vote, ways to drive civic engagement and a compilation of state-specific resources and events.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the 50+ million Americans with disabilities. Learn more at www.aapd.com.
REV UP: Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power
The REV UP Campaign aims to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!
Full political participation for Americans with disabilities is a top priority. AAPD works with state and national coalitions on effective, non-partisan campaigns to eliminate barriers to voting, promote accessibility of voting technology and polling places; educate voters about issues and candidates; promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country; engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters’ right to participate in elections.
Statistics & Data – The REV UP Campaign curates a webpage that provides data about the political participation of the disability community.
Voter Resource Center – The REV UP Campaign hosts a webpage that compiles a host of resources on voter registration, voter education, casting a vote and access to the polls, and amplifying the power of the disability vote.Mobilizing the Grassroots Disability Community
Engaging Disability Voting Rights Advocates – The REV UP Campaign maintains
regular direct engagement with over 350 voting rights advocates across 27 states to
provide information, resources, and updates. Many of these advocates are
representatives from centers for independent living, protection and advocacy
agencies, and other state/local disability organizations.
Sign-On Letter to Candidates – The REV UP Campaign partnered with the Interfaith
Disability Advocacy Coalition to issue a sign-on letter for the faith community to
encourage the presidential candidates to address disability issues.
State Resources & Events – The REV UP Campaign regularly updates a webpage with
information about events in states across the country. These events include voter
registration and education events, debate watch parties, town halls, candidate
forums, and more.
REV UP Toolkit & Logos – The REV UP Campaign offers a customizable toolkit to help
advocates at the state and local level collect and organize information and resources
that are specific to their state. REV UP also offers a host of logos and graphics that
are free for advocates to use and modify.
Media Materials – The REV UP Campaign offers sample social media posts, press
release templates, and graphics to aid state and local partners in their
National Disability Voter Registration Week – The week, which occurred on July 11-
15, 2016, was organized as a concerted effort to get more people with disabilities
registered and educated about this year’s elections as well as to inform the media
and candidates for public office about the influence of the disability vote. The REV
UP Campaign received 37 official proclamations as well as a joint letter of support
from former Senators Bob Dole and Tom Harkin.
National Voter Registration Day – The REV UP Campaign joined the broader
national effort on September 27th to make a final push to register voters before the
state deadlines. The REV UP Campaign hosted a National Organizing Call on
September 8th to help coordinate these efforts.
Online Voter Registration Tool – Through a partnership with Rock The Vote, AAPD
offers online voter registration via the REV UP website.
Pledge to Vote – The REV UP Campaign hosts an online ‘pledge to vote’ form to
encourage political participation.
Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) Activities – The REV UP Campaign hosted a National
Organizing Call on October 4th to provide more information about and encourage
state and local partners to participate in GOTV activities to ensure people with
disabilities are counted at the polls.
REV UP Presidential Candidate Questionnaire – AAPD partnered with the National
Council on Independent Living (NCIL) to create this questionnaire in order to gain
more insight from the candidates on how they would address issues important to
the disability community. We received responses from Hillary Clinton and Donald
2016 Election Center – The REV UP Campaign curates a webpage dedicated to
providing information and external links relating to the current election.
Statistics & Data – The REV UP Campaign curates a webpage that provides data
about the political participation of the disability community.
Voter Resource Center – The REV UP Campaign hosts a webpage that compiles a
host of resources on voter registration, voter education, casting a vote and access to
the polls, and amplifying the power of the disability vote.
H.R. 620 the ADA Education and Reform Act has been scheduled to be marked up by the full House Committee on Judiciary on Thursday, September 7 at 10am.
Now is the time to act! We need your help in stopping this harmful bill. Please take action today!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Send a note or call your Member of Congress – to take action now!
H.R. 620 Talking Points:
Undermines the landmark civil rights law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and harms people with disabilities.
H.R. 620 does not strengthen the ADA, it severely weakens and undermines one of the goals of the law.
It upends a key provision of the ADA by preventing people with disabilities from immediately going to court to enforce their rights.
A “time period fix” does in fact harm people with disabilities, meaning that people with disabilities will not be able to gain physical access to any place of public accommodation for weeks, months, or possibly years.
H.R. 620 REMOVES ANY INCENTIVE for businesses to comply proactively with the ADA.
Let me know if you have any questions. With your help, we can make a difference.
2464 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
550 East Charleston Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Washington, D.C. Office
332 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6155
Fax: (202) 225-5679
Chief of Staff — Bruce Miller
Communications Director — Logan Ramsey
Executive Assistant — Rachel Provost
Legislative Director — Stephanie Walker
Senior Advisor — Kyle Thomas
Senior Legislative Assistant — Lauren Currie
Legislative Assistant — Ken Brooke
5310 Kietzke Lane, Suite 103
Reno, NV 89511
Phone: (775) 686-5760
Fax: (775) 686-5711
District Director — Stacy Parobek
Constituent Service Representative — Arturo Garzon
Constituent Service Representative — Tracy Soliday
Constituent Service Representative — Robert Gastonguay
Constituent Service Representative – Amanda Brazeau
905 Railroad Street, Suite 104 D
Elko, NV 89801
Phone: (775) 777-7705
Fax: (775) 753-9984
Rural Representative — Martin Paris
Las Vegas Office
8872 S Eastern Ave, Ste 220
Las Vegas, NV 89123
Washington, DC Office
413 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Rep. Ruben Kihuen
Representative from Nevada’s 4th District, Democrat
Washington, DC Office
313 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-9894
Fax: (202) 225-9783
2250 N Las Vegas Blvd
North Las Vegas, NV 89030
Phone: (702) 963-9360
Fax: (844) 445-8944