Monday, August 01, 2005
Tricounty Meetup Reminder
In this update;
1. Meetup Coming Up -- this Wednesday
2. Picnic reports
3. Rally At The Capitol
6. New Meetup in Greene County
7. Roberts & The Disabled: The Stealth Scalia
1. Meetup Coming Up -- this Wednesday
We're having our August Meetup this Wednesday, August 3rd at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in Downtown Glens Falls. The time is 7pm.
We will be discussing and planning our August DFA Action Agenda -- DFA Burlington is asking us to meet with Congressional representatives and push for an official investigation of the Downing Street Memo.
This issue is now closely tied in with the "Plamegate" spy exposure scandal, so it is time to raise the temperature under the pot. Time has a new piece out this is really interesting on this angle: the White House knew much earlier, before Joe Wilson's article exposing Bush's lies, that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a secret CIA agent. The noose tightens around Rove, Cheney and Cheney aide Libby Lewis, maybe even Condolezza Rice and possibly Bush himself. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1088709,00.html
Also related to this is the news that the "War On Terror" has been officially renamed the "global struggle against violent extremism." So they are finally against abortion clinic bombers? Really? George Lakoff has a great piece out on this: http://www.alternet.org/story/23810/
We'll also be having a forum on municipal issues to present to mayoral candidates this year for the clarification on the issues, which just isn't happening. We'll also be talking about our Autumn agenda and maybe a picnic for this month.
To reach the Cafe take Exit 18 of the Northway east into downtown Glens Falls. Go past the Hannaford supermarket. At the fork in the road by Stewart's store bear right past the Post Office and the Glens Falls Hospital. The Cafe is ahead on the left past the Hospital by the light at the corner of Elm and Exchange Streets and Hudson Avenue, just before the main intersection downtown.
Also at the Cafe on 8/9 at 7:30pm will be Saratoga author Jim Kunstler, who will be talking on his latest book The Geography of Nowhere on the interrelationship between suburban sprawl, the built environment and the energy crisis.
2. Picnic reports
There were great picnics this weekend by the Washington County and Saratoga County and Ballston Town Democrats. Three Lt. Governor candidates came and spoke at the Washington Co, picnic at Lake Lauderdale: Joseph Ruggiero, Wappinger Town Supervisor, State Assemblyman Tom Dinapoli, who came from Great Neck, and Leecia Eve, of Buffalo, former counsel to Senator Clinton. All made impressive addresses -- it's a strong field. In Saratoga, the main attraction with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary for President Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, who is running for Attorney General.
I'll be putting some pictures of the Saratoga event up on our blog at http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com
3. Rally At The Capitol
There will be a Rally For The Emergency Contraception Bill this Thursday, 8/4, at 11:30am at the Capitol Park-West (next to the NYS Capitol, between State and Washington Streets), Albany.
The Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Act -- a bill that will increase availability of emergency contraception to women – is expected to be delivered to Governor Pataki to be signed into law. Family Planning Advocates and many other organizations concerned about women’s health are holding the rally to make sure that the Governor puts science above politics and approves this important bill.
The rightwingnuts used to claim they were only concerned about abortion -- that they didn't have a larger agenda of reversing the right to contraception. The fact they are moving on and trying to take us back to the days before Margaret Sanger helped make contraception a right proves they were lying about that, too. The real issue is controlling women's lives, not fetuses. For more info contact:
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Family Planning Advocates of New York State
17 Elk St.
Albany, NY 12207
People For The American Way has a really interesting and innovative petition on saving the Supreme Court by opposing the Roberts nomination. This petition is based on the notion of the six degrees of separation:
Paul Hackett, a Marine reservist, Democrat, and the first Iraq War veteran to run for Congress is surging in the polls; at last count he was within the statistical margin of error. His district, Ohio 2, hasn't gone Democratic in generations. This could be a bell weather race if it goes Democratic. If you have a few dollars to spare, you can contribute at: http://www.hackettforcongress.com/
6. New Meetup in Greene County
A new DFA Meetup is being created in New Baltimore in Greene County. If you are in that area and getting this message, or know someone who is who might be interested, please contact Diane Lewis at Dlcasbeer@aol.com
6. Roberts & The Disabled: The Stealth Scalia
And finally, just below, are some very interesting pieces on Judge Roberts and the disabled courtesy of Anne Sharpe; this is disturbing stuff. It looks like he has very few compunctions when it comes to further hurting those already harmed. Behind that amiable smile is a stealth Scalia.
See you all Wednesday!
Disability Analysis of Judge Roberts' Record
Thanks to the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law for producing this
The nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court vacancy created by
Justice OConnors retirement poses serious concerns for people with
disabilities. As a judge, a private lawyer, a special assistant to the
Attorney General, and a deputy Solicitor General, John Roberts has
repeatedly argued to narrow the protections of the Americans with
Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws, to give very limited scope
to the powers that allow Congress to pass civil rights laws, and to limit
remedies under civil rights laws. Below is a summary of Roberts record
on disability and civil rights laws.
Narrowing the Protections of the ADA
* In Toyota Motor Manufacturing v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002),
Roberts successfully argued to the Supreme Court that a woman who had
developed severe bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis from
working on the assembly line at an auto manufacturing plant could not
prevail in a suit against her employer for failing to accommodate her
disability. Roberts argued that she was not a person with a disability
because she was not sufficiently limited in major life activities outside
of her job. Roberts brief greatly distorted the extent of the womans
limitations. As a result of Roberts advocacy, the Supreme Court held
that the test for coverage under the ADA is a narrow one that must be
strictly applied, and it articulated a more stringent test than the test
set forth in the law itself.
Narrowing the Coverage of Section 504
* In Grove City College v. Bell, 465 U.S. 555 (1984), the Supreme
Court ruled that the requirements of Title IX only applied to the
admissions office of a college that accepted federal funds, and not to
the entire college. This decision applied equally to Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act. Several years later, Congress passed a law
overturning this decision and requiring that when an institution accepts
federal funds, the entire institution is subject to the requirements of
Title IX, Title VI, and Section 504. While various legislative proposals
to correct Grove City were pending, John Roberts, then associate White
House counsel, stated in an internal memorandum that the requirements of
Title IX should apply only to the specific program receiving federal
funds, and that the corrective legislation later passed by Congress would
radically expand the civil rights laws to areas of private conduct never
before considered covered. Had Roberts view prevailed, the
antidiscrimination mandates of Section 504, Title VI, and Title IX would
apply to far fewer entities.
Limiting Enforcement of Medicaid and Other Rights
* In Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273 (2002), Roberts
successfully argued before the Supreme Court for a restrictive test to
determine whether laws may be privately enforced in court by the
individuals they protect. In that case, the Supreme Court held that an
individual could not go to court to enforce his rights under the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This case has been used to defeat
the ability of Medicaid recipients to enforce their rights under the
Medicaid Act in numerous cases.
* In Wilder v. Virginia Hospital Association, 496 U.S. 498 (1990),
Roberts filed a brief in the Supreme Court on behalf of the United
States, as deputy Solicitor General, arguing that Medicaid rights were
not privately enforceable. Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected this
argument, and the Wilder decision has been the basis for most cases in
which courts have permitted Medicaid recipients to enforce their rights.
This victory has been severely eroded by the Supreme Courts subsequent
Gonzaga, in which Roberts argued to limit private enforcement of statutes.
* In Suter v. Artist M., 503 U.S. 347 (1992), Roberts successfully
argued to the Supreme Court on behalf of the United States, as deputy
Solicitor General, that children could not enforce their rights under the
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act to require states to make
reasonable efforts to preserve and reunite their families. This decision
has been used to defeat individuals ability to enforce their rights under
many other important statutes as well.
Limiting Remedies for Violations of Disability and Other Civil
* In Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60
(1992), Roberts, as deputy Solicitor General, filed an amicus brief with
the Supreme Court arguing for a restrictive view of what remedies were
available under Title IX, and under civil rights statutes generally. The
Supreme Court rejected Roberts arguments and held that absent a contrary
indication from Congress, all appropriate remedies are available. The
Franklin decision has been extremely important in ensuring that civil
rights plaintiffs who prevail, including ADA and Section 504 plaintiffs,
are able to obtain appropriate relief.
Narrowing Federal Education Law Protections for Students with Disabilities
* In Board of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982), an eight
year old student who was deaf sought to have a sign language interpreter
provided to assist her in school. The trial court ruled that federal law
required the state to provide an interpreter for her. The appeals court
affirmed. Roberts, while at the Justice Department, wrote a memo to the
Attorney General criticizing these court decisions. Roberts stated that
the lower courts, in an exercise of judicial activism, used the vague
statutory language to overrule the board and substitute their own
judgment of appropriate educational policy. Even the conservative
Justice Department of that time disagreed with this view and filed a
brief supporting the student. The Supreme Court held that the student
was not entitled to an interpreter because she was benefitting from her
school instruction and federal law did not require the state to maximize
the potential of each student with a disability.
Restricting Congresss Power to Pass Disability and Civil Rights Laws
* In Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 334 F.3d 1158 (D.C. Cir. 2003),
Roberts, sitting as a federal judge on the D.C. Circuit, dissented from a
denial of en banc (full court) review in a case concerning Congresss
authority to apply the Endangered Species Act to protect an endangered
species of toad. A panel of the court had held that this application of
the Act was a constitutional exercise of Congresss commerce power. The
full court denied review. Roberts dissented, criticizing the panels view
of the commerce power as too broad. Roberts would have held that the
specific application of the Endangered Species Act to the arroyo toad,
which lives only in California, did not implicate interstate commerce,
and thus Congress had no power to regulate it.
The commerce power is one of the bases for Congresss passage of the ADA, > and Roberts interpretation would have dramatic implications for the
ability to enforce many important provisions of the ADA. Fortunately,
Roberts view of the Commerce Clause was subsequently rejected by the
Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Raich, 125 S. Ct. 2195 (2005), in which the
Court made clear that Congresss commerce authority cannot be defeated by
carving out a specific set of activities that are purely local, if these
activities are part of a larger scheme regulating activities that
substantially affect interstate commerce. Having Roberts on the Supreme
Court could dramatically affect how the Court views Congresss commerce
authority in the future.
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