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Washington Letter September 2016


Featured Articles

Federal Government

ABA urges specific, limited change to diversity jurisdiction

The ABA urged Congress this month to enact a specific, limited change to federal diversity jurisdiction, which provides federal courts with jurisdiction over civil cases involving citizens of different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. In a letter submitted for the record of a Sept. 13 hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman expressed concern about the subcommittee’s consideration of proposals to expand diversity jurisdiction, including those that seek to replace the current “complete diversity” position (requiring that all plaintiffs have a different citizenship from all defendants) with a “minimal diversity” position (requiring that only one plaintiff be diverse from one defendant).

Federal Government

ABA seeks answers from Education Department about abrupt changes to PSLF eligibility standards

ABA leaders met with Department of Education (ED) officials Sept. 19 to discuss the association’s strong opposition to the department’s recent action rescinding the association’s status as a qualified employer under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program without warning or explanation. Under PSLF, established in 2007, individuals who have made 120 payments on eligible federal student loans while employed full-time in qualified public service jobs become eligible to have the balance of their loans forgiven.

Federal Government

ABA concerned about impact of arms sales on civilians

The ABA commended Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) this month for their efforts to draw attention to humanitarian issues in Yemen resulting from the armed conflict in that country and the need for increased scrutiny of U.S. exports of military equipment to parties to that conflict. Paul and Murphy introduced S.J. Res. 39 to block the U.S. sale of tanks, guns, ammunition and other defense materials to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response to reports that Saudi security forces have used U.S.-origin military equipment, including cluster munitions, in operations in Yemen for indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians.