Monday, October 8, 2007

Hearing Overview - Who Showed Up, What Went Down!

Members of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties who attended some or all of the hearing included:
Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-8)
Artur Davis (AL-7)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20)
John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14)
Trent Franks (AZ-2)
Darrell Issa (CA-49)

Congressman Sensenbrenner, who is on the Judiciary Committee, also attended the hearing, although he is not on the Subcommittee.

Chairman Nadler opened the hearing with a powerful statement articulating the need for and his support of ADA Restoration. Nadler remarked that any Member of Congress who has made a speech about returning troops should have a special interest in helping get this law passed.

House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, started the witness testimony off with his testimony on the first panel.

As the first to present on the second panel of witnesses, CherylSensenbrenner, AAPD's Board Chair, powerfully delivered her testimony from her perspective as a disabled woman and as a family member of people with disabilities as the first to present on the second panel of witnesses. Stephen Orr, a pharmacist with diabetes who was fired because of his disability and then shut out of the ADA's protections by the courts, testified next and delivered a compelling account of his ordeal. Mike Collins, Executive Director of the National Council on Disability (NCD) then provided a historical account of NCD's role in the drafting of the original ADA as well as the language used to craft the ADA Restoration Act.

Next on the second panel was Lawrence Lorber, Chairman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Equal Employment Opportunity Subcommittee, who several times referenced the ADA as a law for only the "truly disabled" and spent his five minutes of testimony offering criticism of the legislation.

Chai Feldblum, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and a scholarly expert on the ADA, finished the panel with sharp rebuttals to the criticisms of ADA Restoration offered by Mr. Lorber. Questions from Members were brief and are expected to continue in written form to the witnesses in the next few days.

Congressman Artur Davis offered final remarks before Chairman Nadler adjourned the hearing, noting the "activist tendency" of the Supreme Court in telling Congress that they "got [ADA] wrong" a political question, he said, and not one for the Courts.

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