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Re: No decision from the Appeals court


From: Hall, Kevin (K.M.)
Date: Sep 28, 2004 11:19AM

The headline writers don't appear to have actually read the legal brief or understood what the Court said in this case. This was a matter of the plaintiff's attorneys screwing up their arguments and procedural issues rather than the merits of the case being weighed and ruled against. The Court made this clear in their brief. CNET News should really be ashamed for such shoddy and misleading headlines. It's really a shame because it is a well written and carefully considered decision by the Appellate Court. They clearly thought about the impact of the case and did not dismiss this out of hand, they looked many reasons arguments and precedents pertaining to their considering the new arguments being presented by the plaintiffs. I think they did the right thing.

As to the legal standing of web sites with respect to the ADA, I think we should be careful what we wish for. It's nice to be able to browbeat business people into making accessible web sites in the short term, but do we really want the buffoons in Congress legislating what good markup is? The last thing I want is Orrin Hatch or Debbie Stabenow telling me how to build a web site. That's the fastest way I can think of to make all web sites worse. They won't bother to get input from people like us who care and understand the technological issues and need for flexibility and innovation in the future. They'll listen to whatever lobbyist or mega-corporation has their ear.

We are probably better off in the long run if we argue that the ADA doesn't apply to web sites and focus our efforts on educating web designers and stakeholders in web sites on the importance of good accessibility and usability practices. We've made huge progress recently in getting the word out to designers and getting trend setters like ESPN and Wired to move toward standards based design and thinking about accessibility, and I think that's how we should keep moving forward. The courts and Congress are not the right place to decide how web sites should be built.

-Kevin Hall

-----Original Message-----
From: Jared Smith [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 12:27 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] No decision from the Appeals court

> They didn't rule on the public accommodation
> issue because the appeal didn't raise that issue. They dismissed the appeal
> on procedural grounds and did not consider the question of "public
> accommodation."

....and how much are these lawyers making?

The only thing more disappointing than the fact that the lawyers messed
up is the way in which the media is misinterpreting it. I don't read
"Disabilities Act doesn't cover Web..."
(http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-5384087.html) anywhere in the ruling.
The fact that the case was dismissed on procedural grounds does not
mean that it did not have merit.

Jared Smith
WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)
Center for Persons with Disabilities
Utah State University

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