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Rights Gone Wrong in the Senate

By Tony Perkins

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has a dubious name. While it may sound like it would help Americans and people around the world with disabilities, the treaty could dangerously undermine United States laws protecting persons with disabilities, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This past week, the UNCRPD — which conservatives have battled against for years — passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 12-6. A champion of this treaty is former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, who is urging the Senate to ratify and vote on this treaty this year. A major problem of the treaty is that it fails to provide a definition for the word “disability”, which could greatly expand the reach and power of unelected international committee members under the UNCRPD. The treaty only says that disability is “an evolving concept.”

Moreover, U.S. law, including the ADA, protects the rights of parents to raise and educate their children regardless of whether their children have disabilities. Parental rights are so important, and decisions about children with disabilities should be left to parents, not unelected U.N. bureaucrats.

The UNCRPD isn’t the only matter of concern with the Senate before it breaks for August recess. The Senate is set to vote on Monday on another controversial Obama judicial nominee, Pamela Harris, to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. We need to continue to remain strong in our opposition as we hear that the Senate may vote to ratify this treaty sometime this year.

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been stacking the Senate calendar with nominee votes and little time is given, if any at all, to actually debate their confirmation and properly vet them to serve on the highest courts in our land. Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) asked on the floor:

“Why is this Fourth Circuit nomination being fast-tracked? Why fast-track one of the most liberal nominees we have considered to date? If history is any guide, the answer is simple.

It’s all about saving Obamacare.

The other side wants to stack the Fourth Circuit just like they did the D.C. Circuit. Because the Fourth Circuit hears a disproportionate number significant cases involving federal law and regulations, just like the D.C. Circuit.”

Professor Harris has described the Constitution as “a profoundly progressive document.” In 2008 Professor Harris was speaking on a panel and said that she rejected the argument of originalism and claimed that judges should interpret the Constitution from the viewpoint of social movements.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)



 

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