Skip to comments.[Supreme] Court Expands Scope of Disabilities Law
Posted on 06/06/2005 8:52:05 AM PDT by mathprof
The Supreme Court, expanding the scope of a landmark federal disabilities law, ruled Monday that foreign cruise lines sailing in U.S. waters must provide better access for passengers in wheelchairs.
The narrow 5-4 decision is a victory for disabled rights advocates, who said inadequate ship facilities inhibited their right to "participate fully in society."
Congress intended the 1990 American with Disabilities Act to apply to cruise lines, justices said.
"The statute is applicable to foreign ships in the United States waters to the same extent that it is applicable to American ships in those waters," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.
Still, the ruling is unclear how much the $2.5 billion foreign cruise industry, with two-thirds of its passengers Americans, will actually have to reconfigure pools, restaurants and emergency equipment for wheelchair accessibility, an upgrade that could cost the industry millions.
That's because Kennedy also writes that cruise lines need not comply with Title III of the ADA to the extent it creates too much international discord or disruption of a ship's internal affairs, under a provision that calls only for "readily achievable" modifications.
Three disabled passengers, who boarded Norwegian Cruise Line in Houston in 1998 and 1999, say they paid premiums for handicapped-accessible cabins and the assistance of crew but the cruise line failed to configure restaurants, elevators and other facilities.
In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that extending the federal law to foreign ships will create international discord and is wrong because Congress does not explicitly call for it. The ruling should leave no opening for ships to be required to change their amenities to fit the laws of each country they visit, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
I KNEW this law would turn into a lawyers dream..
Food Stamps and the ADA - OldBob's two proudest "accomplishments", according to him.
Regarding the law, Scalia's right: the court overreached (duh!) in finding authority for this.
Regarding the result, it seems good to force foreign-flag ships to submit to the same regs as US-flag vessels.
WTG Kangaroo Court!
Run another barely-surviving business into the ground.
Who needs to take a cruise anyway?
Just like it overreached this morning regarding medical marijuana - which Scalia agreed with.
He's all over the map regarding federal power-lust.
Bob Dole says: "Bob Dole isn't dead yet. You shouldn't have buried Bob Dole".
As a Senator, he was braindead; I just assumed the body must have followed by now.
Tax Collector for the Welfare State, indeed.
The SC is becoming just another symbol of offical corruption and a petty desire to rule over others. The whole system is losing its legitimacy, in my view.
Yes, indeed. SCOTUS making a bad law worse. More unfunded mandates for evil business to shoulder.
Bob Dole: "If Bob Dole is dead, at least somebody should have had the courtesy of inforing Bob Dole. The last thing Bob Dole wants to do is to miss Bob Dole's departure."
Odd. I never had any trouble traveling on the Alaska State Ferry. I have long believed that as a person who uses a wheelchair(paraplegic) I have to deal with the reality of the world in which I live. Not everything can be fixed to my liking and I certainly do not expect a business to remodel to the tune of millions of dollars in the cruise ships. Or thousands of dollars in the case of small main street businesses which have small profit margin. The ADA, while well intentioned, has become a friggin' gold mine for the legal profession and people wishing to get into a "deep pocket" for their big lottery win.
Sorry to hear about your paraplegia. I agree that this law was passed (signed by Bush Sr) with the best of intentions, but what is it they say about the road to hell...
All disabilities are equal... but some disabilities are more equal than others.
On second thought, it sounds a lot like Sidney.
Blame the Bush family. ADA was signed by the Patriarch Bush.
Dole's handicapped, for heaven's sake. Did you expect otherwise?
The ADA continues to be a disaster and an impediment to the employment of the disabled.
And it has turned into a weapon with which thowe who are embittered by their personal plight can lash out at others. The biggest fallout of the ADA is the removal of TENS of THOUSANDS of public facilities because somebody in a wheelchair doesn't have "full access" to the mountain bike trail or can't get to the picnic table at the top of the hill (never mind that there are 79 other picnic tables that they can get to.)