U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, speaking at the General Assembly Aug. 1 during the ABA’s Annual Meeting, recognized the ABA’s role at the forefront of efforts to strengthen the legal profession, enhance the administration of justice, and ensure the rule of law.
“Your ideals, your mission and your passion have attracted the largest membership of any voluntary professional organization in the country,” she said, “and you should all be proud that, time and again, year after year, project after project, you have harnessed the dedication of that impressive following and channeled it forcefully toward improving our system of justice.” She noted that, with ABA support, the Department of Justice “Smart on Crime” initiative that was launched two years ago at the ABA Annual Meeting has been “a resounding success and a rare point of bipartisan agreement.” She said the department “continues to employ the principles of the initiative as we take important steps on issues like sentencing reform and education for incarcerated individuals.”
Lynch emphasized that the country faces deep, varied and evolving challenges that will require a concerted effort to combat and overcome. She said that the department is taking a series of proactive steps to neutralize threats to the country’s security, including partnering with local communities to identify the seeds of homegrown terrorism before they take root. In addition, the department is paying particularly close attention to security threats in cyberspace, including those that take aim at American innovation and imperil the privacy of American consumers. The department also is intensifying and expanding its efforts to fight against human trafficking through a new interagency initiative.
She also spoke of the recent tragedies that have awakened the nation to the breakdowns in the relations between law enforcement officials and the people they serve and said that, going forward, the Justice Department “intends to serve as a committed partner to every community to identify strategies that will advance public safety, strengthen relations, and foster the enduring trust and respect they need to thrive.”
“I have no illusions that progress will be easy to achieve – in strengthening our nation or delivering help to its most vulnerable members,” Lynch said. “But this country, like this extraordinary gathering, has never shied away from seemingly intractable challenges…We will bring about the better future that our communities deserve.”