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Kicked From the Curb in Alabama

Fri,10/30/2020 - 01:09pm

Last week, the Supreme Court acquiesced to another attack on the voting rights of all Americans. In a 5-3 decision, the court blocked a trial judge’s ruling permitting Alabama counties to offer curbside voting as a reasonable accommodation to disabled voters.

People with disabilities represent over 95 percent of Covid-related deaths in Alabama. Now, they must risk their lives in order to exercise their constitutional rights. Howard Porter Jr. a Black plaintiff with asthma and Parkinson’s disease, testified in the case that many of his ancestors died to vote, but “while I don’t mind dying to vote, I think we’re past that — we’re past that time.”

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed — and with the arrival of Amy Coney Barrett, will likely continue to do so. But even in defeat, Merrill v. People First of Alabama highlights an important truth: Disability rights laws offer a powerful tool to advance civil rights for all Americans.


Ne'eman, Ari. “Kicked From the Curb in Alabama.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Oct. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/opinion/supreme-court-alabama-voting-disability.html.