01 March 2005

Latest use of ADA to make Lawyers Rich(er).
The little gem of propaganda below is courtesy of your tax dollars: see the link here. Note the "dot-gov" url.
National Council on DisabilitySpector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. —
Background, Legal Issues, and Implications for Persons with Disabilities*
National Council on Disability1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850Washington, DC 20004202-272-2004 Voice202-272-2074 TTY202-272-2022 Fax
On February 28, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., No. 03-1388, a case that will determine whether foreign-flagged cruise ships serving U.S. ports must comply with the public accommodations provisions contained in Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This paper examines the Spector case in detail and concludes that the plain and expansive language of Title III evidences a congressional intent to require cruise ships to comply with Title III (editor note: to the surprise of every four-year-old reading this. The policy analyst writing for this merry band who didn't find a requirement to comply with ADA would be flippin' hamburgers and grateful for the work) Cruise ship owners and operators claim that they and their ships are exempt from the ADA because all of their ships are, with few exceptions, foreign-flagged, and historically under international law, a seagoing vessel need only comply with the laws of the flagging nation when it comes to the regulation of a ship's internal operations. This paper explains that compliance with Title III would not impinge on the internal management prerogatives of cruise lines or conflict with the United States' obligations under international law. Moreover, the contemporary practice of flying what is known as a "flag of convenience" is simply a business decision that only marginally implicates the sovereign interests of the flagging nation. In stark contrast, however, the United States has a significant interest in ending invidious discrimination against persons with disabilities by cruise lines - particularly when cruise lines are headquartered in the United States, base their ships in U.S. ports, draw their clientele almost exclusively from the United States, and advertise and solicit most of their passengers in the United States. In passing the ADA, Congress sought to guarantee "full participation" by persons with disabilities in all aspects of American life. The Supreme Court has an opportunity in Spector to give force and effect to Congress' unequivocal intent by refusing to exempt foreign-flagged cruise ships from Title III of the ADA. To do otherwise would place the Court's imprimatur upon the discriminatory practices of inaccessible cruise lines, and write segregation on the basis of disability into American law.

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