Document Type


Publication Date


First Page


Journal Title Abbreviation

Tex. J. C.L. & C.R.


Perhaps it was imprudent for me to agree, in response to the request of the symposium organizers, to address the future of disability law. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Neils Bohr supposedly once said that "[p]rediction is very difficult, especially about the future."' Columnist and author Jim Bishop wrote, "The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face." 2 Prognosticating is a very tricky and uncertain undertaking. I cannot pretend to have any particular gift for crystal ball gazing in disability matters. When I joined the staff of the National Council on the Handicapped in 1984, I was unsure whether it was worth the effort to push the idea of comprehensive disability nondiscrimination legislation to the predominantly conservative Council. At a meeting with the late Justin Dart who was Vice Chair of the Council, I shared my misgivings; Justin's reaction was "Bob, I don't see how we could not do it."'3 We did, and, to my pleasant surprise, the Council endorsed the idea unanimously and enthusiastically, and turned out to be vigorous advocates for what became the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Again, when I had penned the first draft of the ADA in the early months of 1987, I thought it might take decades for such legislation to be enacted, if it was even introduced at all; a little less than three-and-a-half years later, the ADA was signed into law.4