A Statement from CIDNY on the Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States

We are deeply troubled by the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. We are extremely concerned about the impact that her addition to the Supreme Court will have on people with disabilities. We fear that advances made, over the last forty years, can be taken from us and our lives put at risk.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett has shown a willingness to endorse government discrimination against people with disabilities. Her dissent in a decision about the public charge rule said that placing additional burdens on people with disabilities is reasonable and not in conflict with longstanding disability rights law (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act). She has also joined an opinion that exclusion of children with disabilities from school districts, based on their educational needs, is not in conflict with the ADA and Section 504.

Her views contrast sharply with those of late United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Justice Ginsburg authored and joined in the majority on decisions interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act and other matters that have had a profound impact on our lives. For example, she authored the decision in Olmstead v L.C. which held that people with disabilities have the right to receive services in the most integrated setting. 

One of the first cases that Justice Coney Barrett will hear as a member of the Supreme Court of the United States is on the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare or ACA). Judge Barrett claims to be “not hostile” towards the ACA but her past opinions have shown otherwise. The ACA has improved for people with disabilities. It protects against discrimination in health care and on the basis of pre-existing conditions. It includes coverage for mental health, the ACA has helped people live on their own, out of institutions, and thrive. 

We strongly opposed the nomination and joined other disability groups in urging the Senate to oppose her nomination. We disagree with the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. We expect to face the imposition of new roadblocks to equality for people with disabilities resulting from Amy Coney Barrett’s addition to the Supreme Court.  We will continue to fight for the rights of people with disabilities. We will not go back.