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Thursday, February 09, 2006

TARGETING TARGET: Unbelievable. The National Federation of the Blind is suing Target because the chain department store's Web site isn't accessible to blind people. Orwell was a man with no illusions about how language can be corrupted by ideology, but I suspect even he would be floored by this one. Because Target's Web site doesn't support certain software favored by the rights for the blind lobby,
"Target thus excludes the blind from full and equal participation in the growing Internet economy that is increasingly a fundamental part of daily life," said the suit, which seeks class action certification.
This definition of "exclude" is truly frightening in its potential for special interest groups to shake down successful commercial enterprises. Black people in the South were truly excluded from full civic participation due to segregationist laws and norms; it was right and good to challenge those in the name of equal protection. But to say that Target is liable for in any similar way "excluding" blind people, when alternative online shopping venues are available — oh, please. It's way past time for the Supreme Court to scale back the scope of the Americans With Disabilities Act, one of the most misguided statutes enacted during the administration of Bush the First.