Should ADA apply to any cruise ship servicing U.S.?

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The U.S. Supreme court heard arguments yesterday on whether the ADA extends to cruise ships that call at U.S. ports. Here is a link to an article about it in the New York Times (free registration req'd). While I think it's a crying shame that all countries don't require facilities to accommodate people with disabilities, I have to agree with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is quoted in the article as saying: "You are in effect saying, 'The U.S. rules the world.' No matter what the other ports say, U.S. law is going to govern."

It's a difficult argument,though, nothing cut-and-dried about it. And there's also the money factor: U.S. Cruise lines save huge amounts of money by flagging their ships under foreign countries. On the flip side, it would cost them huge amounts of money to retrofit to make their ships ADA-compliant. I'll be watching to see how this one plays out--and how it ends up affecting cruise meetings.

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