The lack of American Sign Language interpreters at coronavirus briefings violates the First Amendment, the National Association of the Deaf says.
The National Association of the Deaf and five deaf Americans have sued the White House, arguing that the lack of a sign language interpreter at President Trump’s coronavirus briefings violates the First Amendment.
The association is seeking to force Mr. Trump and other White House officials to use American Sign Language, or A.S.L., interpreters during “television broadcasts of their coronavirus press conferences and briefings to make them accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing people.”
The lawsuit contends that the refusal to provide in-frame sign language prevents the plaintiffs from accessing the communications provided by their elected representatives, thus violating their First Amendment rights.
“Deaf and hard-of-hearing people are affected by the pandemic, just like everyone else, but we’re not getting the same access to information, resources, and updates as others,” Howard A. Rosenblum, the association’s chief executive, said in an email. “Accurate captioning helps anyone and everyone. Appropriately assigned interpreters at press briefings avoids possible misunderstandings.”