ABA House of Delegates Approves Section’s Proposed ABA Policy on Voting Rights, Other Annual Meeting Highlights
The 2005 Annual Meeting was a successful one for the Section. In addition to the incredibly well-attended Thurgood Marshall Dinner and Reception, the Section conducted its Council meeting and held annual elections, presented six CLE programs, and sponsored a resolution calling for the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed by the ABA House of Delegates (HOD).
With many of the temporary provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 set to expire in 2007, the Committee on Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity drafted a report with recommendation calling for “the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act as amended through 1992.” The ABA’s previous voting rights policy was archived several years ago. As part of the Council’s general business session, the Section also voted to co-sponsor several recommendations put forth by other ABA entities, including one presented by the Judicial Division affirming the belief that a fair, impartial, and independent judiciary is fundamental to a free society.
Among the many Section-sponsored CLE programs was the Presidential Plenary Session, “The Global War on Terror: Conflict or Compatibility with the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law.” This program, presented by the Section’s Bill of Rights Project, was moderated by Project Chair, Barry Sullivan and featured distinguished panelists including, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; M. Chariff Bassiouni, President of the International Human Rights Institute of DePaul University College of Law; Elisa C. Massimino, Director of Human Rights First; and, Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School. Other Section-sponsored programs covered a diverse array of issues including immigration reform, the capital punishment of juveniles and the mentally impaired, social security reform, transgender employment discrimination, and lawyers’ role in the 2004 presidential election.
In addition to adopting the Section-sponsored resolution calling for reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, the HOD also voted to amend the ABA Constitution to provide each section and division with at least two delegates in the HOD. This change will now allow the Section to have two delegates in the House and will greatly benefit the Section’s policy development work.
During the Section’s Annual Luncheon, the Health Rights and Bioethics Committee received the 2005 Committee Excellence Award, in honor of its exceptional work during the past year. Co-chairs Lourdes A. Rivera and Susan Fogel accepted the award on behalf of the committee.