Welcome the New NCE Steering Committee Members

In 2019, the NCE Steering Committee will welcome new leadership and new members. The steering committee serves as NCE’s governing body and is responsible for supporting the development and implementation of a robust professional development program for executives, management staff, and volunteer leaders in The Arc. Please join us in thanking Carrie Hobbs Guiden and the 2017-2018 committee for their time, energy, creativity, and commitment — and please welcome your 2019-2020 committee members:

Chairperson: Karen Shoemaker, Executive Director, The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, PA

First Vice-Chair: Chris Stewart, President/Chief Executive Officer, The Arc of Central Alabama, AL

Second Vice-Chair: Kim Dodson, Executive Director, The Arc of Indiana, IN

Immediate Past Chair: Carrie Hobbs Guiden, Executive Director, The Arc of Tennessee, TN

 

Regional Representatives

Region 1: John Nash, Executive Director, The Arc of North Carolina, NC

Region 2: Jean Phelps, Chief Executive Officer, LifeLinks/The Arc of Greater Lowell, MA

Region 3: Lori Opiela, Vice President for Day and Employment Services, United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago, IL

Region 4: Kevin Fish, Executive Director, The Arc of Sedgwick County, KS

Region 5: Robert Malone, Executive Director, The Arc of Prince George’s County, MD

Region 6: Jon Meyers, State Director, The Arc of Arizona, AZ

 

At Large Members

Frank Adu, Chief Executive Officer, The Arc Middlesex County, NJ

Leslie Green, Chief Executive Officer, Stonebelt Arc, IN

Teri Hawthorne, Executive Director, The Arc of Greater Beaumont, TX

Mark Keeley, President and CEO, St. Louis Arc, MO

Charity Moore, Executive Director, The Arc of Laramie County, WY

Stanfort Perry, Executive Director, AHRC Nassau County, NY

Melanie Soto, Executive Director, Y.E.S. The Arc, AZ

Mary Van Haneghan, Chief Executive Officer, The Arc of the Capital Area, TX

 

Regional Key

Region 1: AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC

Region 2: CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT

Region 3: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, WI

Region 4: AR, KS, KY, LA, MO, ND, NE, OK, SD, TN, TX, WY

Region 5: DC, DE, MD, NJ, OH, PA, VA, WV

Region 6: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, NM, MT, OR, UT, WA

Spotlight: A Farewell to NCE Steering Chair Carrie Hobbs Guiden

After two wonderful years, we bid farewell to Carrie Hobbs Guiden as our NCE Steering Committee Chair. Carrie reflected on her tenure as chair with us, as well as how to get more involved with NCE and take advantage of all that it has to offer!

 

Your time as NCE steering committee chair is coming to a close after 2 years! What’s your most memorable moment (funny, ridiculous, triumphant, or otherwise) from your time as chair?

The two years have gone by so quickly that it is hard to pick out just one particular moment. I think my most memorable moment as NCE steering committee chair has been handing out the awards at the NCE Awards Luncheon both in San Diego and Nashville.  It was such a privilege to meet and honor the amazing leaders in our network and hear their stories.  And while this isn’t a specific “moment,” per se, I’ve really cherished the time I’ve spent working with the two Vice Chairs – Karen Shoemaker and Chris Stewart.  We’re not only close professionally, but personally as well.  We have supported each other through some challenging personal situations that helped us really become a cohesive team.

What was your most challenging moment?

For me the most challenging moment was making the call to tell two steering committee members that they would be rolling off. There is this internal struggle between not wanting to lose that contribution from members that have been extremely passionate, involved and committed but also knowing that the only way to bring new people onto the committee is to allow for that changeover. Change is always difficult for me anyway, but I have found as I get older I can deal with it more effectively. 

Do you have any advice for those wanting to get more involved with NCE, either in a leadership or participatory capacity?

Just do it! NCE has many different task groups – events planning, silent auction, awards, chapter resources – that provide opportunities for anyone interested in becoming more involved in NCE to do so without an extensive time commitment. These task groups also give you the opportunity to decide if you want to get more involved and serve on the NCE steering committee. My initial involvement came as an invite to be on what used to be the NCE Membership Committee. For me, being involved in NCE at any level has been a great way to get more connected to the professionals in The Arc network. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day that happens in your own state and forget that we have a national network of leaders from which to seek information, learn new ideas, and get support.  When I reach out to others in NCE, I often find that they are dealing with similar issues, but in different ways. So I can get a lot of creative ideas from others that I wouldn’t necessarily come across if I didn’t look outside my own state. 

What’s next in your career?

I’m not sure. I really enjoy my role as a state chapter exec – but there is always part of me that considers returning to my roots as a provider. I can say with certainty that I always see myself connected to The Arc in some way and working with people with I/DD and their families. I just cannot imagine doing anything else. And as long as I am connected to The Arc and people with I/DD, I will remain involved in NCE.

The Arc Mourns the Passing of President George H.W. Bush

The Arc released the following statement following the death of President George H.W. Bush.

“President Bush and members of his administration were crucial participants in the development and enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the greatest legislative victories for people with disabilities in our nation. This landmark law is one of the ways in which our country leads the world in respecting and valuing the lives of people with disabilities.  We salute the important impact that President Bush’s commitment to civil rights will continue to make in the lives of people with disabilities for many generations to come,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

Thankful for SNAP: November 2018 #HandsOff

#HandsOff is a series on The Arc Blog where individuals and families across The Arc’s network share their stories about how some of today’s key policy issues impact their day to day lives.

By Anne Clinard Barnhill

My sister, Rebecca, is sixty years old and one of the most amazing and resilient women I have ever met. When she was born in 1958, autism was barely whispered among doctors. The general public knew nothing about the condition. Becky wasn’t officially diagnosed with autism until she was thirty-seven years old.

She is living life as fully as possible. She shops, goes to the Senior Center for exercise two or three times a week, goes to Weight Watchers, and continues to hone her independent living skills.  Several years ago, she participated in a program called Beyond Academics at the University of North Carolina. Innovative and person-centered, this four-year program allowed Becky to attend classes on campus, just like traditional college students — only she studied self-care, cooking, budgeting, and other independent living skills.

After graduation, she made the choice to live independently with a roommate. They split the rent and utilities, but food is purchased on an individual basis. Becky blossomed in the independent living situation. She made friends and learned her way around Wilmington. She cannot yet use public transportation, but that is one of her goals. She has procured a part-time seasonal job, which she loves. She works one afternoon per week from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

One thing that makes this life possible for her is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Millions of people with disabilities, like Becky, rely on SNAP to access the food they need. Last week, SNAP helped Becky prepare for Thanksgiving as she was able to gather the ingredients she needed to prepare a tasty meal, with help from family and friends.  Support from SNAP helps her to purchase to healthier foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. As a breast cancer survivor, she needs to eat a lot of fresh food to help keep a recurrence from happening. She makes wise choices with her SNAP food monies and this helps keep her healthy. If SNAP were taken away, she would be forced to purchase cheap processed foods and would rarely afford fresh produce.

SNAP enables Becky to continue living independently. She is happier, healthier, and SNAP helps make it all possible. I beg Congress to protect the SNAP program.

Becky has the courage of a lion and the heart of tiger. She has braved many situations with dignity and such gumption. She needs a little help from her friends — don’t we all? SNAP is her friend and I pray she continues to receive this, as without SNAP, her whole life — the life she has built brick by brick — will be at risk of tumbling down.

Celebrating National Caregiver Month with The Arc Wisconsin

The Arc Wisconsin State Director Lisa Pugh stands in front of an exhibiting booth smiling and holding a computer. Each November, we observe National Caregiver Month – honoring those who devote their lives to providing care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The daily demands of caregiving for individuals with I/DD and elderly adults can be challenging, and the commitment of time and resources that goes into ensuring a loved one’s well-being leaves little time for personal goals, professional duties and planning for the future.
At The Arc Wisconsin, Lisa Pugh is working hard to take a leadership role in the fight to support caregivers throughout the state.  

 

One of the largest groups that make up the caregiving population are family members and loved ones. What is future planning and why is it important?

Future planning is creating a guide for a person with I/DD to lead a good life as independently as possible. A plan is important throughout all stages of life, especially during transitions, and especially in the future after the parent or caregiver is no longer able to provide support.

About 2/3 of the more than 50,000 people with I/DD in Wisconsin live with their families, and there are 16,500 vacant paid caregiver positions. In many of these families, the main caregivers are over age 60. When it comes to thinking about the future, Wisconsin families are like everyone else across the country- they don’t have a plan in place, even though they know they should.

Without a plan in place, those families can easily go into crisis. Many families feel overwhelmed, aren’t even aware of future planning options and resources, and need support to navigate the process.

Many families think future planning is mostly about finances – but good future planning is about so much more. It is about daily routines and future plans about where to live and work. It’s about growing people’s independence in their own decision-making. It really is a holistic look at someone’s life and how to secure and plan for their success and happiness.

 

What are you doing to meet this need?

We are working hard to expand access to future planning information. Trained planners help Wisconsin families work through common and difficult barriers. Since January 2018 we have trained 25 professionals who have supported more than 123 caregivers and families to begin development of a future plan. The Arc Wisconsin’s network of trained planners reached over 33 towns and cities.

We are also conducting outreach to identify systems barriers, advancing recommendations from a recent respite summit, and offering future planning workshops across the state.

You can learn more about our future planning efforts by watching this short video.

 

You were recently appointed co-chair of the Wisconsin Family and Caregiver Support Alliance. How can other chapters and organizations utilize coalition cooperation to better serve caregivers?

Caregiving as an issue that many populations are struggling with and many people are affected by. In our state, The Arc Wisconsin has chosen to work alongside aging and dementia advocacy groups to find solutions to support families. Our Alliance is tackling challenges in workgroups to address commonalities like lack of respite care, the need for caregiver support, complicated systems navigation, cultural competence and the need for employers to better support their caregiver employees. We are having success on all of these fronts by working together. In 2019, we plan to publish results of several surveys that we hope will lead to policy changes and perhaps redirected or new funding.

We will kick off this year’s Family Caregiver Month celebration with an Alliance press conference in the Governor’s Conference Room of our state capitol with storytelling by caregivers and presentation of a Governor’s proclamation.

 

What advice do you have for other chapters looking to expand their efforts in supporting caregivers?

Getting out and talking directly to caregivers has brought credibility to our efforts. Over the last year, The Arc Wisconsin has presented on future planning to groups of caregivers and professionals at Aging and Disability Resource Centers and at other events and conferences throughout the state. We have put on webinars, provided in-service training, and are widely distributing The Arc’s excellent future planning resources. Often communities are just starting to become aware of the fragile situations where elderly moms and dads have an adult son or daughter with I/DD living at home while they continue providing most or all of the care. Future planning is essential in these situations and chapters of The Arc are poised to lead the way in tackling it.

Time to Check Your Health Insurance

2019 Open Enrollment:

November 1, 2018
Open enrollment begins

December 15, 2018
Open enrollment ends

January 1, 2019
Coverage begins

If you’re uninsured or looking for more affordable health insurance, the “open enrollment” period is the time to visit healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace or health insurance exchange. During “open enrollment”, private health insurance options can be reviewed and coverage can be purchased. People with low and moderate incomes may be able to get financial help to pay for health insurance coverage. Assistance to pay for premiums and other cost-sharing may be available for individuals and families, depending on which plan is purchased and the families’ income level. If you get health insurance through your employer, Medicaid or Medicare, you are not eligible for this assistance.

You can also sign up for insurance outside of the open enrollment period, if you lose your job, get married, divorced or have a baby. You may enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time.

Do all states have the same open enrollment dates?

No. Some states have longer enrollment periods. States with different ones are listed below:

California: Oct. 15, 2018 – Jan. 15, 2019

Colorado: Nov. 1, 2018 – Jan. 15, 2019

DC: Nov. 1, 2018 — Jan. 31, 2019

Massachusetts: Nov. 1, 2018 – Jan. 23, 2019

Minnesota: Nov. 1, 2018 – Jan. 13, 2019

Rhode Island: Nov. 1, 2018 – Dec. 31, 2018

 

 

If you have a disability or a health condition, be sure to ask before you select a plan:

  • Are a broad range of health care providers included in the health plan’s provider network?
  • Are there enough medical specialists in the network to meet your needs?
  • Are the medications you need included in the plan’s list of covered drugs? Has the cost sharing changed? Are there other requirements like prior authorization?
  • Is there adequate access to non-clinical, disability-specific services and supports?
  • Does the plan have service limits, such as caps or limits on the number of office visits for therapy services?
  • Are mental health services covered to the same extent that other “physical” health benefits are covered?

I already have health insurance through the Marketplace. Do I need to do something?

It is important to update your income and household information in the Marketplace to make sure you get the assistance that is available to you.  

  • This is also a good time to check your health insurance coverage and see if it still meets your healthcare needs.
  • If a new plan does not cover your providers or services, seek more information about transitioning from your current provider to a new one.
  • You should carefully read all health insurance notices and updates.
  • If your income has increased, updating your information with the Marketplace will help avoid paying penalties.

I and/or my family members are uninsured, can we sign up?

Uninsured individuals can go online, enter information and review insurance options. Information on monthly premiums, deductible costs, doctors, hospitals and which drugs are covered by a plan should be available. Enrollment is limited to individuals who live in the United States, are U.S. citizens, nationals, or non-citizens who are lawfully present, and not currently incarcerated. If you have not signed up for an insurance plan, it is important to note that you may be subject to a fee for not having health care coverage.

Most individuals will be able to get health insurance coverage regardless of pre-existing health conditions or prior denial of coverage. However, due to recent federal changes, the marketplace may sell policies that do not include the protections from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These ACA protections include covering essential health benefits such as rehabilitation or behavioral health and ensuring that plans do not charge people with preexisting conditions more for coverage. It is more important than ever to thoroughly review what benefits a plan offers and what it costs.

Where can I go to get help?

Purchasing health insurance can be complicated. If you or your family member needs assistance with understanding the options, healthcare.gov can help. Each state has health insurance “navigators” to assist individuals with enrollment in health insurance plans. Individual health plan information should be available in late October 2018 on the website. If you would like more information on specific topics, the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative has a comprehensive set of materials available on disability issues and the Affordable Care Act.

Website: www.healthcare.gov
Phone: 1-800-318-2596 (Available 24/7 with access to 150 languages)
TTY: 1-855-889-4325
In-Person Assistance Resources: localhelp.healthcare.gov

Our Hearts Are Heavy: A Statement on the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

A statement from The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh, known as ACHIEVA, on the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue this weekend. Two of their clients, Cecil and David Rosenthal were victims of the attack.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff of The Arc, we offer our most heartfelt sympathy to the entire ACHIEVA family on the tragic loss of Cecil and David Rosenthal.

The ACHIEVA family is devastated at the loss of two well-respected members of our community. Two extraordinary men, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, were victims of the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

Cecil and David had a love for life and for those around them. As long-standing recipients of ACHIEVA’s residential and employment services, they were as much a part of the ACHIEVA family as they were their beloved neighborhood of Squirrel Hill.

They loved life. They loved their community. They spent a lot of time at the Tree of Life, never missing a Saturday.  “If they were here they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be,” said Chris Schopf, Vice President, Residential Supports, ACHIEVA.

Chris added, “Cecil’s laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit. Together, they looked out for one another. They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around.”

Our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy to the Rosenthal family, and to all who were affected by the tragedy at Tree of Life.

Impact of the Public Charge Rule Change on People with Disabilities

Written in partnership with:

What is the Public Charge rule?

On October 10, the Department of Homeland Security announced the “public charge” rule. This rule allows the U.S. to keep out people who may become a “public charge.” Someone is called a “public charge” if the government thinks you might depend on government benefits to meet your needs. Someone who is called a “public charge” will be discriminated against if they try to enter the U.S. (get a visa) or get a green card (become a permanent resident).

The proposed rule is unfair, dangerous, and blatantly discriminatory. The rule would exclude people from this country simply because they have a disability.

The U.S. has already had a public charge rule for a long time. The new rule will make things much worse. Under the old rule, someone was only considered a public charge if they used cash benefits, like social security or TANF, or if they lived in an institution. The new rule uses a much bigger list of programs and benefits, and it also looks at other things like someone’s health and income.

The Rule Discourages the Use of Important Programs and Benefits

The new rule will discourage families from using important services for fear of harming their immigration status. People with disabilities and our families often need to use government benefits in order to stay fed, housed, and healthy. Under the new rule, using–or even just applying for–these benefits will count against us. Some of the programs and benefits that will count against us under this new rule are:

  • Medicaid
  • Food stamps, or SNAP
  • Medicare Part D assistance
  • Section 8 housing assistance
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP (they are still deciding whether to include this program)

In addition, the rule will also look at someone’s income. If someone or their family is lowincome, that will count against them.

The Rule is An Attack on Medicaid

The public charge rule is another attack on the basic services people with disabilities receive through Medicaid. The new rule includes the Medicaid-funded services that help people with disabilities stay in our homes, work, go to school, and live in our communities. These services are sometimes called waiver services, personal care services, nursing services, respite, intensive mental health services, and employment supports.

This creates an unfair choice for people with disabilities and our families. Medicaid is the only source for community living supports for people with disabilities. Community services simply aren’t available under private insurance. This rule will force immigrant families to choose between surviving without needed community services or being denied entry into this country just because their family member has a disability and might need services.

The Rule Discriminates Against People with Disabilities

The proposed rule directly discriminates against people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. In addition to benefits, the rule looks at a person’s health to decide if they will become a public charge. If someone has certain medical conditions, that counts against them. If someone doesn’t have a medical condition or a disability, the rule says that is a “positive factor.” This is unfair and discriminatory to people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

The rule specially calls out people with the “most expensive health conditions,” including:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Mental health conditions

The rule also looks at whether or not a person can obtain private health insurance to pay for the medical costs the government thinks they will have because of their chronic health condition or disability. If someone doesn’t have health insurance, that counts against them. But because many important community services are only available through Medicaid and are not covered by private insurance, many people with disabilities won’t pass this test.

In other words, the proposed rule would exclude people with disabilities simply because they have a disability.

The Rule Isn’t Final Yet

If the new rule is put into practice, it will hurt many immigrants and immigrant families, including people with disabilities. But there is still time. For the next 60 days, the Department of Homeland Security is taking comments on the rule. Anyone can comment on the rule, and the government is required to read and respond to the comments. It is critical that the disability community sends in as many comments as possible explaining why this rule is dangerous and discriminatory and why it should not be put into practice. If we all speak up, we can keep this rule from being implemented.

For more information, please visit https://medicaid.publicrep.org/feature/public-charge/ and https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/. These websites include information and resources on how to comment.

For more information on this and other topics, visit

  • www.thearc.org
  • ASAN: autisticadvocacy.org
  • CPR: centerforpublicrep.org

 

Tommy Hilfiger, Levy Restaurant Group, Amy & The Orphans and more: The Arc Announces Winners of 2018 Catalyst Awards

On November 9, The Arc will present the prestigious Catalyst Awards to six honorees, all of whom have made extraordinary contributions in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This year’s winners hail from a wide swath of our society, including one of the most admired fashion brands in the world, the lead cast and writer behind a hit off-Broadway show, a nationally recognized self-advocate, a non-profit that is paving the way for inclusion of disability in the fashion industry, and one of the nation’s premier special education lawyers, all of whom are changing how society perceives and treats people with disabilities.
“The Catalyst Awards honor those who are not traditionally recognized within the disability community for their diverse and meaningful contributions to our movement. These award winners are unique in their accomplishments, but unified by their tireless pursuit of inclusion. Their work has helped further The Arc’s mission to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we are thrilled to bring them together to receive this well-earned honor. Our hope is that by shining a spotlight on these change agents we will inspire and educate others,” said Peter Berns, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc.

During the fourth year of this signature event, awards will be presented in six categories. A full list of the accomplishments being honored can be found on The Arc’s Catalyst Awards website.

  • Corporate Advocate of the YearTommy Hilfiger revolutionized the fashion industry by launching the Tommy Adaptive Collection in 2017, a line of clothing tailored to the needs of people with disabilities. More than just being the first mainstream fashion brand to design a clothing line specifically for people with disabilities, Tommy Hilfiger has relied upon the advice and feedback from the community to create each design. Modifications such as one-handed zippers, side-seam openings, bungee cord closure systems and magnetic buttons, were incorporated into the design of each piece to maximize comfort and ease of use for people with disabilities. Through its Adaptive Collection, Tommy Hilfiger has become a leader in making the fashion industry more inclusive.
  • Self-Advocate of the YearJames Meadours has been a tireless advocate for individuals with I/DD for decades. Throughout his career, Meadours has used his personal experience to highlight challenges facing individuals with I/DD in our nation. As a survivor of sexual assault, he has been a powerful activist in the #MeToo movement and he has made it his mission to help victims of sexual violence across the nation become survivors.  He is a trail blazer, leader, and staunch defender of people with I/DD.
  • Entertainment Industry ExcellenceAmy and The Orphans is a critically acclaimed show that is the first and only known Broadway or off-Broadway production to feature actors with I/DD in leading roles. Written by critically-acclaimed playwright Lindsey Ferrentino and Directed by Tony nominee Scott Ellis, Amy and the Orphans, tells a humorous yet truthful story of three siblings – one of whom, Amy, has I/DD – who come together in the wake of their father’s funeral for a road trip. Jamie Brewer (known for her roles in FX’s hit series American Horror Story) and Edward Barbanell, both actors with disabilities, will be honored with the award along with Ferrentino.
  • Legal Advocate of the YearJack D. Robinson is receiving the Legal Advocate of the Year Award in recognition of his illustrious career in special education law and his dedication to protecting the legal right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities on the state and national levels. Most recently, Robinson represented Endrew F. before the U.S. Supreme Court in the IDEA case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.  The Endrew F.decision has been hailed as a landmark decision that transforms the educational rights of students with disabilities and empowers parents fighting for the civil rights of their children with disabilities.
  • Employer of the YearLevy Restaurant Group has made hiring people with I/DD a priority and has made disability inclusion a key hiring initiative at new locations. One of their most successful job training and placement programs has been at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where they have successfully placed over 100 people with I/DD in jobs at their food service locations at the venue. The Levy Restaurant Group has replicated their successful model at several other locations in New York with plans to expand to more locations around the country in the near future.
  • Marketing Influencer of the YearRunway of Dreams Foundation (RODF) is a non-profit organization that develops, delivers and supports charitable initiatives to broaden the reach of adaptive clothing and promote the differently-abled community in the fashion industry. RODF uses a multifaceted approach in their work, which includes processing adaptive clothing donations, creating employment opportunities with fashion brands, leading adaptive design workshops and providing scholarships to aspiring designers.

 

Comcast NBCUniversal is The Arc’s National Media Sponsor and lead sponsor of the Catalyst Awards.

“Each of these awards speak to the power of inclusivity, and that’s why we are so grateful to partner with The Arc and recognize these honorees for giving a voice to, and advocating for, people of all abilities,” said Fred Maahs, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Comcast.

All nominations were reviewed by a formal selection committee comprised of members of The Arc’s National Staff, members of The Arc’s Board of Directors, prior Catalyst Award Winners, National Conference of Executives of The Arc members, and Peter Berns, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc, serves as the Chair of the Catalyst Awards Selection Committee. Criteria for selection can be found on The Catalyst Awards Website.

The Arc Responds to Appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court

 

Today, The Arc responded to Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court. In August, The Arc came out in opposition to Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the highest court based on his decisions on cases involving self-determination of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), education, employment, and his stances on the Affordable Care Act and school choice.

The Arc has not publicly opposed a nominee to the Supreme Court in 30 years, since 1987 when Judge Robert Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. When Judge Gorsuch was nominated to the highest court, The Arc did a thorough analysis of his record and decided to not oppose his appointment. The Arc solely takes positions based on the core values, mission statement, position statements, and public policy agenda for the organization.

“The Arc is disappointed in the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, this is a devastating blow to disability and civil rights in our country. After a thorough analysis of Judge Kavanaugh’s record we chose to oppose his appointment and activate our grassroots network. Our organization was founded to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We couldn’t sit by idly knowing that Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a disregard for the impact of his judicial philosophy on the lives of people with disabilities and their families time and time again.

“Particularly concerning is his opinion in Doe. V. Tarlow, a case where women with intellectual disability who resided in the District of Columbia’s Forest Haven institution brought a class action lawsuit against the District for violating their due process rights. The District, through its developmental disabilities agency, consented to subject them to non-emergency surgical procedures, including abortions and eye surgeries, without even talking to them and their family members. Judge Kavanaugh’s ruling is disturbing in his apparent lack of appreciation for the humanity of individuals with intellectual disability, their basic human rights, and their ability and right to participate in important life decisions even when found legally unable to make decisions by themselves.

“We believe Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment poses a threat to the civil rights of millions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. It is shocking that so many Senators ignored the gaps in Judge Kavanaugh’s knowledge and understanding of the value and perspectives of people with intellectual disability. Even more disheartening is those Senators who ignored the pleas of their constituents with disabilities who called on them to oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment. We appreciate those who stood up for their constituents, their support did not go unnoticed. We remain united with our colleagues across the disability and civil rights communities and will continue our advocacy to support the values we hold dear as an organization,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.