Senate Democrats led by scandalous Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are looking to reintroduce a United Nations (UN) treaty that ostensibly deals with the rights of the disabled. The treaty was defeated last year after Presidential candidate Rick Santorum derided it because of the effect it could have on homeschooling in America.
The fear of some Republicans and most home schooling families is that the ratification of the treaty could mean that parents of disabled children would lose the ability to control their child’s education. Some have scoffed at that notion by saying “that only U.S. law can be the basis for litigation in American courtrooms.” However, in recent years the courts have turned to international law as reason in their rulings more and more frequently.
As with any legislation where there seems to be partisan conflict, the Democrats have painted Republican lawmakers as anti-disabled for their stance on the treaty. Citing recent Republican losses in the 2012 election, the Gang of Eight Immigration reform, and the Supreme Courts recent gay marriage rulings, one Democratic aide put it as smugly as they could:
“There comes a point when a lot of these galvanizing issues with a social component, when you’re on the wrong side of too many of them it has an effect… You have voices within [the Republican] Caucus making the case that ‘we need to get our act together’.”
As it turns out, Republican opposition to the treaty seems to be faltering, and the Democrats see many paths to getting the treaty ratified. Some who were against it previously pointed out that the vote was taking place in a “lame-duck” session and didn’t think it was fair to vote on this when new legislators would soon be arriving. Others, like Georgia’s own Johnny Isakson, seemed conflicted the last time the measure came up for a vote and could likely easily be swayed in an off-election year.
Republican Senator from New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte, voiced her support, “takes a step toward making it easier for disabled Americans to live and work overseas, without impinging on U.S. sovereignty or Congress’ authority to determine our disability laws.”
While Democrat Patty Murray of Washington State said, “it’s a disappointing day for Americans with disabilities in Washington State and across the country.”
Sure, we want to do everything we can to help those with disabilities in our country and around our world. But our legislators would do well to remember that though the purpose of the legislation may be noble, the unintended consequences may be dramatic. After all, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”