Sotomayor Confirmation Means ‘Brighter Future,’ Advocates Say
After an intense lobbying effort, disability advocacy groups are applauding the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
The Senate confirmed Sotomayor Thursday by a vote of 68 to 31 to become an associate justice on the nation’s highest court. She will be the first Hispanic member of that body.
President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor in May to replace Justice David Souter. Disability advocacy groups quickly united behind Sotomayor citing her strong understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), among other laws affecting those with disabilities.
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Just last month more than two dozen national disability organizations sent a letter to members of the Senate to ask that they confirm Sotomayor. In the letter, they talked about her personal experience as an individual with diabetes and said that her judicial record indicates “a good understanding of” and healthy respect for “the rights of persons with disabilities.”
As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sotomayor considered cases related to the ADA and IDEA as well as the Social Security and Medicaid programs, according to an analysis of her rulings from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
“Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation promises a brighter future for people with disabilities,” said Robert Bernstein, executive director of the Bazelon Center. “For years people with disabilities have looked for a champion on the Supreme Court, someone who understands the importance of disability rights laws to the people they were intended to protect. We think Judge Sotomayor may be that champion.”