chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Washington Letter November 2014


Featured Articles

Federal Government

Republicans to control Senate and House in 114th Congress

When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Republicans will control both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) remaining in his position and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moving into the role of Senate majority leader. Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will become Senate minority leader, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was re-elected to continue to serve in her position.

Federal Government

Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings next year on U.S. attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch

The Senate is expected to begin the confirmation process early next year on the nomination of federal prosecutor Loretta E. Lynch, President’s Obama’s choice to succeed U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Lynch, nominated Nov. 8, would be the first African-American woman to serve as U.S. attorney general if she is confirmed by the Senate, which will shift from Democratic to Republican control for the 114th Congress. Her confirmation hearings will be held before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is will be chaired by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Civil Rights & Constitution

ABA urges administration to apply torture treaty extraterritorially

ABA President William C. Hubbard urged the Obama administration Nov. 7 to formally affirm that the administration interprets the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) as applying extraterritorially to prisoners within the custody of or under the physical control of the United States. In a letter to President Obama, Hubbard noted that, over the past decade, revelations of abuses by U.S. personnel of detained terrorism suspects overseas and the lack of transparency and accountability over what occurred “have continued to dismay the American public and severely damage our nation’s reputation as a leader in promoting human rights and the international rule of law.”

Federal Government

ABA urges prompt reauthorization of Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

The ABA is urging Congress and the Obama administration to support reauthorization during the current lame duck session of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which ensures the availability of terrorism insurance for U.S businesses by providing federal financial assistance. In Nov. 14 letters to House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman attached an in-depth analysis of the program by the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and emphasized the urgent need to reauthorize the program this year.

Children's Rights

ABA supports Convention on the Rights of the Child

ABA President William C. Hubbard expressed the ABA’s support last month for the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and urged Secretary of State John Kerry to submit the convention to the Senate for consideration early in the 114th Congress. The CRC, signed in 1995 by President Clinton but never submitted to the Senate, came into force in September 1990 and is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history with 194 state parties.

Federal Government

24th Annual Review of National Security Law

National security experts gathered in Washington Nov. 6-7 for the 24th Annual Review of the field of National Security Law, an event co-sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security; the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law; the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University School of Law; and the Center on National Security and the Law at Georgetown University.