Fall 2004

Civil Rights Act, Thurgood Marshall Award, Policy Recommendations Highlight Annual Meeting

A Section-sponsored symposium commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 13th annual Thurgood Marshall Award Dinner, and Section policy recommendations highlighted Section activity at the 2004 ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga., in August.

The Section presented several CLE programs during the 2004 Annual Meeting, including a symposium commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and other programs on the federal judicial nomination process, housing discrimination and the elderly, and the use of criminal prosecutions in Russia.

The Civil Rights Act symposium focused on the history of the 1964 Act, the influence of the Act on other legislation, and the future of civil rights. The program was moderated by Section Vice Chair Paul M. Igasaki. Speakers included Father Robert F. Drinan, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. President Theodore Shaw, American Association of People with Disabilities President Andrew Imparato, People for the American Way President Ralph Neas, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee President Mary Rose Oakar, former Section Chair and ABA Board of Governors member Mark D. Agrast and many others.

Alabama lawyer Fred Gray accepted the 2004 Thurgood Marshall Award before 300 attendees at a dinner held in his honor on Saturday, August 7, 2004. Mr. Gray is perhaps best known for representing Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Ala. in 1955, and for serving as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first civil rights attorney. Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), gave the keynote address. Rev. Lowery acknowledged his decades-long friendship with Mr. Gray and reflected on the work he and Mr. Gray performed in the trenches of the civil rights battleground.

The ABA House of Delegates, adopted a Section-sponsored resolution reaffirming policy adopted by the ABA in 1972 urging the vigorous and effective enforcement of Title IX and clarifying that retaliation constitutes a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX for which a private right of action exists to enforce the statute. The report, which accompanied the resolution, states that discrimination necessarily includes retaliation for complaints of discrimination and that vigorous and effective enforcement would become impossible without such a right of action.

The House of Delegates also adopted a Section co-sponsored recommendation condemning any use of torture or other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment upon persons within the custody or under the physical control of the U. S. government (including its contractors) and any endorsement or authorization of such measures by government lawyers, officials and agents. The resolution urges the U.S. government to stop the torture and abuse of detainees, investigate violations of law and prosecute those who committed, authorized or condoned those violations, and assure that detention and interrogation practices adhere faithfully to the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States and related customary international law.

Copies of the policies are available on the Section’s website at www.abanet.org/irr.

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