Is diabetes now a disability?

posted at 1:56 pm on April 9, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

That seems to be the message from the White House, which is apparently a little desperate to make the case that Barack Obama has proven his historical and diversity mettle in judicial nominations.  In a new infographic for the website, the Obama administration now argues that it appointed the first confirmed Supreme Court justice “with a disability” (via Twitchy):

President Obama has only nominated two Supreme Court justices, both of whom were confirmed by the Senate — Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.  The only unusual medical or physical condition known about either of them is Sotomayor’s diabetes, which is presumably the basis for this claim.  My wife had Type I diabetes for almost all of her life (until her 2007 pancreas transplant), which eventually caused her blindness and kidney failure.  She is classified as disabled because of her blindness, but no one ever suggested that her diabetes was a disability — it’s a medical condition that can be managed and doesn’t physically disable anyone from anything on its own, except perhaps eating sugar.

Count Kevin Drum at Mother Jones among the unimpressed with this claim:

[W]hen I clicked the link to take a look at the White House’s latest graphic wizardry, I was surprised to learn that one of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees was the first ever with a disability to win confirmation. I had no idea. But Google, as always, is my friend, and after first coming up dry on Elena Kagan, I discovered that Sonia Sotomayor has diabetes.

Did I already know this? Maybe. My memory is so bad that I couldn’t tell you whether I once knew this and have forgotten, or whether I had never heard this before. In any case, I guess I’ve added two new bits of knowledge to my brain pan today: (1) Sonia Sotomayor has diabetes, and (2) diabetes is considered a disability. Live and learn.

I’d hazard a guess that (2) would be a surprise to those with Type I diabetes, too.  It’s an absurdity in service to a further absurdity, which is the relentless impulse of the White House to play the diversity card in advance of the election.  Apparently, it’s no longer enough that Sotomayor is a Latina, but they need her to check the “disability” box as well, even though she’s not at all disabled.  That smacks of desperation, and perhaps a bit of intellectual disability among the White House staff.

Update: The Washington Free Beacon notices a diversity deficit in the Obama campaign, as does Ace, but apparently not BuzzFeed.


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Comment pages: 1 2

And who’s putting labels? You don’t get benefits unless you apply for them. You don’t seem so inclined. That’s good, because if you’re working for a living, you’re not supposed to “need” them anyway.

Vyce on April 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

You don’t have to prove need to get an entitlement. You just have to qualify.

BobMbx on April 9, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Vyce on April 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

The anger is very easy to explain, Mr. Regulator, and heed me well.

Either you are disabled, or you are not. Those who write the regulations seem to misunderstand what they are writing about. In Sonya Sotomayer’s case, either she is BY YOUR DEFINITION: 1) Disabled, not able to work and therefore unfit to serve in her role as Supreme Court Justice, or 2) able to serve and is therefore NOT disabled.

And it isn’t just you, it is the whole idea that the government decides who gets a paycheck or not, whether one is actually sick or disabled doesn’t really factor when it comes down to who gets a check. Its about VOTES.

If you are one of those who polices the system well, and sees to it that the individual who CAN work doesn’t cheat the system, well kudos to you!

I however, have seen too many cheats who got the money, and too many who desperately need it, but can’t.

I personally, think the whole d@mned thing needs to be overhauled. But it is clear Mr. Obama and his stooges will destroy it with ObamaCare before we get the chance.

Turtle317 on April 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Maybe its her golf game.

STL_Vet on April 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Are they finally admitting that liberalism is a mental disorder? It has got to be pretty debilitating to go through life without any capacity for logic, especially if you are a Supreme Court justice.

Other notable accomplishment: country’s 1st brain damaged VP.

Also, when you think about it, Obama is our second disabled president, after that guy in the wheelchair. Being born without a soul should probably count as a disability.

bitsy on April 9, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Drinking Coors beer gives me bad headaches. i need a check.

44Magnum on April 9, 2012 at 4:46 PM

As some one whose mother died from complications from diabetes after living the last four years bedridden due to neuropathy, I am insulted.

ladyingray on April 9, 2012 at 2:07 PM

I understand how you feel, and people should be a little more sensitive in how they phrase things, but I don’t think anyone here is belittling your mother or the condition (I have Type II). More so the fact that Obozo will use any opportunity or person to promote how awesome he is. Personally, if I were her (and not so completely devoted to him for a lifetime appointment) I would’ve called him out for divulging the information, even though it is public knowledge for anyone interested.

And now that I re-read your post I realize that you could’ve been insulted by Obozo in the first place. Whichever the case, I’m sorry for your loss.

stacman on April 9, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Maybe its her golf game.

STL_Vet on April 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM

That’s a handicap, not a disease. But maybe this is what Obama was referring to. I wonder if Sotomayor plays golf?

timberline on April 9, 2012 at 5:17 PM

So are pulled muscles from overreach.

Classic. Great to have Ed back.

rogaineguy on April 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

If you are one of those who polices the system well, and sees to it that the individual who CAN work doesn’t cheat the system, well kudos to you!

Turtle317 on April 9, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I work within the regulations, which are actually more complicated than you might think. I usually wind up recommending or writing more “unfavorable” decisions than I do favorable ones (as in, decisions denying benefits). Most of the favorable decisions that I write usually have CDRs requirements attached (meaning that the claimant will need to prove no medical improvement has occurred after a reasonable time period, usually 24 months).

Vyce on April 9, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Hmmm, he’s also taking credit for the first openly gay appointment. While he wasn’t open until he retired, Judge Vaughn Walker was appointed by GHW Bush to the bench. Details, details.

jaliranchr on April 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM

I’m not about to say that the White House is entirely correct in this point, but, as a Type I diabetic, I do take issue with this, and would argue that, yes, it can be considered a disability (albeit a mild one), as it has (outside of not “perhaps eating sugar”) affected my life and work schedule.

Mind you, I’m not one to jump and yell “DISABILITY” at the drop of a hat (my father had suffered with polio when he was young; for his whole adult life, and while raising me and my siblings, he lived his life on crutches; quite a perspective this gives someone when you consider everyday living on crutches the norm).

Now, I admit, it does enforce a healthier lifestyle; I can’t rush through (or even skip) meals. I have to watch my blood sugar on a regular basis (4 times a day). If I don’t have my insulin (I take shots; and due to the amount that I take, I have no other alternative), I must rush home to pick some up. When I have had to work shifts other than 8-5, I still had to maintain my original meal and insulin schedule, or face the consequences.

I especially like work meetings that involve snacks–none of which are diabetic friendly. I may make a request (of which usually involves a discussion explaining *close and things like, “no only DIET 7Up; yes, bread is healthy, but not for a diabetic; orange juice is bad; etc”). Quite a stretch to compare to, say, wheelchair accessible entrances, but there is some common ground there.

Yes, hassles, I admit. Nothing like, say, living in an iron lung or having cerebral palsy. But to dismiss it as nothing more than “you shouldn’t eat sugar” is, well…quite insulting, sorry.

I don’t agree with the White House’s “let’s add this little checkmark” approach, but I also disagree with Ed’s dismissive attitude as well, wife with diabetes or not.

CatsGodot on April 9, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Does Ruth Bader Ginsberg peeing in her Depends really qualify as a disability?

TexasJew on April 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

I don’t agree with the White House’s “let’s add this little checkmark” approach, but I also disagree with Ed’s dismissive attitude as well, wife with diabetes or not.

CatsGodot on April 9, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I’m a diabetic and I fully agree with Ed – something I rarely do.

It’s not a disability.

Man up.

TexasJew on April 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Next on FOX, “When Large Stupid Laws Battle!” Tonight it’s going to be National Health Care vs. ADA!

ray on April 9, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Gee – I guess now I can apply for disability for my diabetes, ‘specially since I have the White House’s confirmation that it is a disability, they can’t turn me down. Hey — I can qual for ADA as well! (sarc)!

Grumpy Curmudgeon on April 9, 2012 at 10:02 PM

They missed two bullet points:

- First openly racist Supreme Court Justice
- First openly sexist Supreme Court Justice

Crusty on April 10, 2012 at 4:35 AM

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