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July 30, 2003

Disability Rights Organizations Strongly Oppose William Pryor; Cite Alabama AG's History of Activism Against ADA and Civil Rights

From: U.S. Newswire (press release), DC - Jul 30, 2003

To: National Desk

Contact: Jim Ward of the ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights, 202-415-4753 or

WASHINGTON, July 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The National Coalition for Disability Rights and more than 60 disability organizations have joined a total of more than 200 organizations opposed to the confirmation of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to a lifetime seat on the Federal court. NCDR partners opposing Pryor include the National Council on Independent Living, National Association of the Deaf, American Association of People with Disabilities, Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, and the Independent Living Center of Birmingham, Alabama. (The complete list is at )

"The unfortunate focus on this nominee's religion has only distracted from central issues such as Mr. Pryor's involvement in the weakening of federal protections for people with disabilities." said NCDR president, Jim Ward. "The disability community is opposed to the confirmation of Alabama Attorney General William Pryor because we do not believe a person with a disability would receive a fair hearing from a "Judge Pryor."

Pryor, who has called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) an "illegal mandate," has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has led the effort to limit congressional power to enact laws protecting civil rights and has fought aggressively to prevent people with disabilities from enforcing their rights against states under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Pryor has spoken out in favor of legal arguments that would eliminate the right of individuals to obtain Medicaid services that states are obligated to provide, and he has also advocated in support of the death penalty for mentally retarded criminals.

Pryor has denied any existence of evidence regarding discrimination by the States - including documented instances of forced sterilization of individuals with disabilities, unnecessary institutionalization, denial of education and healthcare, and systemic prejudices and stereotyping perpetrated by state actors.

"Pryor's commitment is to ideology rather than justice. The Senate should reject this nominee and President Bush, whose father signed the ADA into law, should nominate individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the civil rights of citizens with disabilities - and of all Americans."


/© 2003 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/