Last Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would overturn a series of Supreme Court decisions that have narrowed the definition of disability under the American With Disabilities Act of 1990.
The ADA Restoration Act (H.R.3195), which restores the original intent of the ADA by clarifying that anyone with an impairment, regardless of his or her successful use of treatments to manage the impairment, is entitled to seek a reasonable accommodation in the workplace, received 402 votes in favor and 17 votes against [Source: United States House of Representatives, Roll Call #460, June 25, 2008]. Five of those seventeen “nay” votes came from Georgia Republicans.
Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, John Linder, Tom Price and Lynn Westmoreland voted against the legislation that specifically:
- Amends the definition of disability so that individuals whom Congress originally intended to protect from discrimination are covered under the ADA;
- Prevents the courts from considering the use of treatment or other accommodations when deciding whether an individual qualifies for protection under the ADA; and
- Focuses on whether individuals can demonstrate they were treated less favorably on the basis of disability.
The original ADA passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1990 and was heralded by Republican and Democratic leaders as the “emancipation proclamation” for people with disabilities.
The ADA Restoration Act of 2008 is supported by a variety of advocacy groups and organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of People with Disabilities.