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Supreme Court considers whether ADA applies to foreign cruise ships

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard arguments Monday in Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line [case backgrounder from Duke Law School], 03-1388, dealing with the issue of whether foreign cruise ships that stop at US ports must comply with Americans with Disabilities Act [text] provisions protecting disabled passengers from discrimination. The lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. [corporate website] involves three cruises that originated in 1998 and 1999 in Houston and went onto foreign ports. Several justices today expressed skepticism that foreign cruise lines would have to make changes to their ships at great costs to comply with the US law, even though they make only occasional stops at US ports. The justices also pondered if disability law does not apply, then other US laws barring discrimination may not apply. The case is on appeal from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] which held [opinion, PDF] the ADA does not apply to foreign ships. That decision was contrary to another made by the Eleventh Circuit, which has jurisdiction over the cruise-heavy state of Florida. The ABA has merit briefs for the case. Reuters has more.

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