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Civil Rights & Constitution

ABA cites importance of access to qualified counsel in capital cases

The ABA, providing its perspective on death penalty representation last month, emphasized that “no single factor is more essential to providing due process than access to qualified, adequately resourced defense counsel.” The ABA views were presented Feb. 18 to the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act Program, a panel appointed by the Judicial Conference of the United States to conduct a comprehensive and impartial review of the administration and operation of the Criminal Justice Act.

Bias & Discrimination

Proposal would enhance gathering of pay equity data

The ABA is applauding the broad reach of a proposal that would require federal contractors and private companies with 100 or more employees to report pay data by race, gender and ethnicity to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as a step toward ensuring pay equity. The proposal, announced by the president Jan. 29, expands upon an earlier proposal from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to require the collection of pay data from federal contractors who employ approximately 20 percent of the workforce.

Bias & Discrimination

Legislation focuses on gender diversity on corporate boards

Legislation introduced in the House March 7 seeks to increase gender diversity on corporate boards of directors, a goal in line with policy adopted by the ABA House of Delegates at its February Midyear Meeting. H.R. 4718, sponsored by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to establish a Gender Diversity Advisory Group to study and issue a report with recommendations on strategies to increase gender diversity among the corporate directors of publicly traded companies.

Civil Rights & Constitution

President directs changes to solitary confinement policies

President Obama issued a memorandum March 1 directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to revise its regulations and policies to limit the use of restrictive housing, including solitary confinement, in federal correctional and detention systems throughout the United States. “A growing body of evidence suggests that the overuse of solitary confinement and other forms of restrictive housing in U.S correctional systems undermines public safety and is contrary to our nation’s values,” the president said.