Disabling the Police

A San Francisco disability discrimination case threatens to hobble law enforcement nationwide.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed by Congress in 1990, was the product of good intentions. Its proponents—President George H.W. Bush chief among them—wanted to eliminate arbitrary barriers to the physically disabled. “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down,” Bush solemnly declared at the legislation’s signing ceremony. The ADA sailed through Congress with little resistance. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with federal do-goodery, those good intentions produced a poorly drafted statute full of vague definitions, ambiguous obligations, and complicated enforcement schemes, made even worse by byzantine enabling regulations and far-fetched judicial interpretations.

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