Spring 2006

Section Committees Active on Important Issues

Upholding the Constitution, preserving our civil liberties, and pursuing justice are concepts that are fundamental to the practice of law and IRR does this work every day.  The issues we work on are crucial, and have widespread impact on those within our communities who most need our help.  As a member of the largest voluntary professional association in the world, we encourage you to take advantage of one of the most valuable opportunities available to you.  Getting involved is easy.  Below is just a snapshot of the kind of work our committees are doing every day. 
First Amendment/Public Education

The First Amendment and Public Education Committees, along with the Committee on the Rights of Children, are collaborating to draft a Section-sponsored policy recommendation on Religion Clause issues, specifically as they apply in public school settings. The three committees also are planning a program for the 2006 Annual Meeting in Honolulu, which will focus on this topic.

Rights of Children

In addition to working with the First Amendment and Public Education Committees on a policy recommendation and program, the Committee is working with ABA President-Elect Karen Mathis on her “Youth at Risk” initiative. Committee Co-Chair Catherine Ross represented the Section at a planning conference, which was held at Hofstra University Law School in Feb. 2006. The conference, facilitated by the ABA Center for Children and the Law, was attended by representatives from a wide range of children’s advocacy organizations, who identified key areas in which young people are most at risk in today’s society. These topic areas will be used by President-Elect Mathis to establish a number of ABA projects that will aid at-risk youth. The Children’s Rights Committee plans to assist with one or more of those projects.

Environmental Justice Committee

The Environmental Justice Committee is continuing its successful environmental justice program at Howard University School of Law. The program, which began in 2004, aims at encouraging minority lawyers to enter into the practice of environmental law. Several committee members, including Chair Nicholas Targ, created and teach classes for Howard students that focus on environmental issues. They also are working with students to create a law journal and have established a fellowship program that provides students with paid summer positions with law firms and government agencies that focus on environmental issues. The committee intends to use the Howard project as a model for other historically minority schools.

To become active in any of our Section committees, visit our website at http://www.abanet.org/irr/committees/join.html. For more information on the work of the Section Committees, contact the Section office at 202/662-1030.

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