Civil Rights and Social Justice

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Chair's Column


I always enjoy watching the President’s State of the Union address - not only for its substance, but for its symbolism. It is politics in its purest form. The president speaks of his hopes and accomplishments. Flanked behind him is his loyal vice-president, cheering his words with enthusiasm, and the Speaker of the House who, depending on party affiliation, either cheers along, or takes on a persona of dour stoicism.

The well of Congress is divided into categories of those who express agreement and excitement, and those who appear bound to their seats. The Supreme Court sits awkwardly, focused more on not betraying any hint of a personal opinion than on the president’s words. Honored guests watch with awe at being invited to attend this historic event. And outside the room, scores of media and political handlers prepare to spin what they heard into a narrative that fits their professional agendas.

When the State of the Union is a president’s last such address, it can be particularly poignant. It marks the president’s final appeal to history as well as to the American public, who gets to “vote” one last time through public opinion polls. The speech also brings the president closer to the moment when he will be relieved of the burdens of office, and face a new beginning of life outside the protective bubble of the White House. To be able to leave with grace and confidence in a job well done is one of the tougher internal challenges a president faces.

* * SPECIAL FEATURE *  *


Commentary by Immediate Past Section Chair Mark I. Schickman in honor of the Religious Freedom Committee's Featured Month of January



Immediate Past Chair, Mark SchickmanTUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2016 - Freedom of religion holds a unique place in the constellation of Constitutional protections. Our Constitution embodies the importance of equality in broad general terms, but religious adherents are the only protected class expressly mentioned for protection. This is understandable, as our nation was formed in a large part out of the quest to flee religious persecution, founded by those escaping religious abuse.



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2016 Robert F. Drinan Award for Distinguished Service
Honoring Estelle H. Rogers


The Section is proud to announce that Section Delegate Estelle H. Rogers will receive the 2016 Robert F. Drinan Award for Distinguished Service.


Estelle has been an integral part of the Section for decades. She was first appointed as co-chair of our Women's Rights Committee and played a key role in the multi-year House of Delegates consideration of reproductive rights. In 1990, she was elected to the Section's Council and from 1996 to 1999 served as Section Delegate. She resumed her position as Section Delegate in 2012 and was re-elected in 2015.


The Drinan Award will be presented to Estelle at a reception on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, during the ABA Midyear Meeting in San Diego, California. To learn more about the award and its past recipients, click here.

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