February 01, 2016

ABA Legislative and Governmental Priorities 114th Congress

Access to Legal Services

•Funding for the Legal Services Corporation

•Legal protection and assistance for members of the military, veterans, and family members

Civil Justice System Access

•Opposition to proposals that limit access to, or redress by, the civil justice system, including legislation that would limit class actions (Rule 23) and change sanction provisions (Rule 11) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure without complying with the Rules Enabling Act process

•Opposition to limits on recovery of noneconomic damages

Criminal Justice System Improvements

•Federal sentencing reform to address explosive growth in prison population and costs

•Prison system reform

•Reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

•Funding for federal and state indigent defense programs

•Elimination of unjustified racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system

Elimination of Discrimination

•Enactment, enforcement, and preservation of laws to eradicate discrimination in public life, including employment and voting rights discrimination

Immigration Reform

•Comprehensive immigration reform

•Access to counsel, including appointed counsel for unaccompanied children, and reform of the overburdened immigration court system

•Opposition to mandatory detention of individuals in removal proceedings and support for strengthening the detention standards and promulgating them into enforceable regulations

Independence of the Judiciary

•Prompt filling of judicial vacancies

•Support for adequate judicial resources

•Opposition to efforts that infringe on separation of powers or undermine the judiciary

Independence of the Legal Profession

•Opposition to federal legislation requiring law firms to pay taxes on “phantom” income that has not yet been received

•Support for the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine and opposition to federal government policies that erode those protections

•Opposition to federal legislation and agency rules that impose excessive new regulations on practicing lawyers or undermine the confidential lawyer-client relationship or state court regulation of the legal profession

International Rule of Law

•Funding for domestic and international agencies and programs that promote the rule of law

•Ratification of key international treaties, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Legal Education

•Support for public service loan repayment programs for law school graduates and others

National Security and Civil Liberties

•Support for cybersecurity legislation consistent with enumerated principles and for policies to prevent unauthorized intrusions into lawyers’ computer systems and networks

•Support for prosecution in Article III courts of Guantanamo detainees charged with criminal violations

•Reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

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