by Mark Riccobono
Originally published: March 14, 2016
As a blind American who leads an organization of blind Americans, I know that there are many issues affecting the blind and others with disabilities that our courts, including the Supreme Court, must decide.
As just one example, lower federal courts are split on the critically important issue of how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to Internet websites and the content and services that they provide. Because of the lower court split, this issue may well be considered by the Supreme Court in the future. Therefore, the National Federation of the Blind, of which I serve as President, believes that the Senate should consider and vote upon President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, when selected.
The failure of the Senate to consider a nominee before the next election will leave the seat empty for more than a year. During that time, the court will have only eight justices; should they be divided equally on any case, the Court will be unable to decide it. It is unacceptable that the court should be unable to reach decisions for so long.
Equally important to us is the question of whether or not the nominee has the understanding that disability is one of the diverse characteristics found among Americans, and that people with disabilities deserve to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as other citizens.