The ABA Board of Governors approved changes at its August 6, 2021, meeting to the specific disclaimer language that must be included in ABA section and division blanket authority statements to government entities and in ABA entity reports that contain policy recommendations and are intended for public release. The changes to these required disclaimers clarify that the views expressed in the statements and reports have not only not been approved, but also have not been reviewed, by the House of Delegates or Board of Governors, thus striking a more neutral tone.
Blanket Authority is the process that enables ABA sections and divisions to express their own policy views to government bodies after providing prior notice to other ABA sections and divisions, ABA leaders, and the ABA Governmental Affairs Office and Policy & Planning Division. ABA sections, divisions, and other entities are also permitted to publicly release reports and white papers containing policy recommendations after first vetting the materials with GAO, Policy & Planning, and other interested ABA entities. However, blanket authority statements and reports must include specific disclaimers stating that they reflect the views of the submitting entity or authors only and not the views of the ABA.
The ABA Board approved these changes in response to an ABA entity request for clarification to avoid creating a misimpression that the House of Delegates or Board of Governors had reviewed—and then declined to approve—the views expressed in the blanket authority statements and reports.
Revised Disclaimer for Blanket Authority Statements
"The views expressed herein are presented on behalf of the Section of __________. They have not been reviewed or approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the position of the Association." (See ABA Blanket Authority Handbook, Submission Procedures for Blanket Authority Requests)
Revised Disclaimer for Reports Containing Policy Recommendations and Intended for Public Release
“The views expressed herein represent the opinions of the authors. They have not been reviewed or approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the position of the Association or any of its entities.” (See ABA Policy and Procedures Handbook, Chapter 5, Part C)
The revised disclaimer for blanket authority statements can be found in the Blanket Authority Handbook (2021-2022). This disclaimer and the revised reports disclaimer will also be included in the next edition of the ABA Policy and Procedures Handbook later this year. All ABA sections, divisions, and other entities should now include this revised language in blanket authority requests and reports containing policy recommendations that are intended for public release.
For more information or questions about the new required disclaimers, contact the ABA Governmental Affairs Office or ABA Policy & Planning Division.