Supreme Court strikes a blow for common sense |

Supreme Court strikes a blow for common sense

Karl Neathammer

On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court of the United States struck a blow for common sense against the ever-increasing legalism that has encroached and affected our lives under the guise of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Sutton et. al. v. United Airlines, Inc., the court severely curtailed the ability of people to sue companies for not hiring them for positions because of disabilities which render them incapable for the capacities they would be expected to fill in their employment.

The plaintiffs in this particular case were the Sutton sisters, twins with severe nearsightedness. Their sight was rated at about 20/200. They were suing United Airlines for refusing to hire them because they did not meet the minimum standard for visual acuity required for employment with the airline. The court ruled that the Sutton sisters had no grounds to sue because people who are nearly blind are not the type of people who should work around airplanes.

While this decision would seem like common sense to most people it was apparently a vast intellectual chasm, which needed to be bridged and traveled over by the court. It is reported that in some circles of the legal community, the court’s decision came as an earthshaking revelation.

You would think that it would be obvious to most people that it is simply not safe for people with serious conditions to be in certain occupations. It does not make them any less a human being. Quite the contrary, it only shows that we are human with certain strengths and certain frailties.

However, we have a large segment of non-productive people in our society who love and revel in their “victim status” (whether real or manufactured) and by using the Americans with Disabilities Act see their future enhanced tenfold at the expense of the citizenry.

Aided and abetted by liberal politicians and a bevy of ACLU lawyers, they are already chastising the Supreme Court for trying to restore some semblance of order and common sense in this area of law. With the usual chest beating and hand-wringing, comes the wailing and caterwauling cries of “unfairness” and “inequality” which inevitably turn into the liberal standards mantra that the court’s ruling is “racist”, “discriminatory” and “bigoted.”

They say this ruling violates the “spirit” of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It does not. The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed with the intent that people with handicaps wouldn’t be discriminated against when applying and holding jobs which they are able to perform. The act was never meant to open any and all employment to any and all people regardless of whether individuals in that position would be a threat to the health and safety of people interacting with them.

Rather than eviscerate the act with this ruling, the court has removed an avenue of abuse which was previously open for liberals to convince certain people that they are entitled to anything and everything they want, regardless of the public consequences.

Moreover, this is the heart of the problem, this sense of “entitlement” in our society that is perceived as a “constitutional right.” This “entitlement as a right mentality” stems from the liberal view on equality. The reality is that people are never going to be equal in their abilities and capabilities. There will always be people who are better at things than their peers; individuals who will excel over others in the work force.

The liberal idea that “equality” is achieved by forcing corporations and society to accommodate and “fit” anyone into any application, regardless of their ability is not equality; it is nothing more than the liberal manic obsession from social engineering and regulatory control.

No doubt, there will be people of the liberal persuasion who will interpret what I say as being insensitive toward people with disabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the result of wounds sustained in Vietnam, I have a crippled (I detest the politically correct term “physically challenged”) right arm with a Veterans Administration rating of 60 percent. I would certainly not like to be discriminated against because of my disability, but then again, I also realize that I am not the right person to fly a 747!

Therefore, despite the wailing and lamentations from the limousine liberals, a blow has been struck against unnatural social engineering and for common sense. I believe we owe the Supreme Court a rare round of applause for an appropriate victory of reason over pandering and self-induced victimization. Sometimes they do get it right!

Footnote: Other plaintiffs involved in this case were two truck drivers. One suffered from extremely high blood pressure making him a prime candidate for a heart attack while driving a truck. The other man was completely blind on one eye, which eliminated any type of depth perception.