Over the years, the ABA has adopted various resolutions that focus on disability law or disability rights that are now ABA policy.
- The ABA urges governments to adopt and enforce legislation and educational policy that 1) prohibits school personnel from using seclusion, mechanical, and chemical restraints on preschool elementary and secondary students, 2) prohibits school personnel from using physical restraint unless the student’s behavior poses an imminent danger of serious physical injury to self or others, 3) prohibits the use of restraints in a face-down position or any other position that is likely to impair a student’s ability to breathe, in situations where physical restraint is used, and 4) requires professional development and ongoing training in positive behavior interventions and trauma-informed care.
- The ABA adopts the American Bar Association Election Administration Guidelines and Commentary, dated August 2020, supplanting all earlier versions; recommends that all election officials ensure the integrity of the election process through the adoption, use, and enforcement of the Guidelines; and urges that governments provide election authorities with adequate funding to implement the Guidelines and Commentary.
- The ABA urges Congress to grant a private right of action for those who are not granted equal access to commercial air travel, thus violating their civil rights. This includes allowing for compensatory and punitive damages and other reasonable fees for plaintiffs who prevail in their cases.
- The ABA urges governments to declare June 19 (Juneteenth) as a paid legal holiday.
- The ABA urges governments to enact legislation to eliminate or substantially curtail the defense of qualified immunity in civil actions brought against law enforcement officers.
- The ABA urges that in all states, territories and tribes, the highest courts or legislative bodies charged with the administration of justice, admission to the bar, or regulation of the legal profession, require that lawyers, judges, commissioners, referees, probation officers, and court personnel whose job requires interacting with the public receive periodic training regarding implicit biases that addresses, at minimum: sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity; and urges that, in all states, territories, and tribes, the highest courts or legislative bodies, or agencies and boards that license and regulate the medical profession or social service professions, require that medical professionals and social service professionals who work with the public receive periodic training regarding the implicit biases previously noted.
- The ABA amends Model Rule 1.8(e) by adding a narrow exception to the Rule that will increase access to justice for the most vulnerable clients.
- The ABA urges Urges Congress to create and fund a Guardianship Court Improvement Program for adult guardianship to support state court efforts to improve the legal process in the adult guardianship system, improve outcomes for adults subject to or potentially subject to guardianship, increase the use of less restrictive options than guardianship, and enhance collaboration among courts, the legal system, and the aging and disability networks.
- The ABA encourages U.S. jurisidictions to consider a more innovative approach to the "access to justice" crisis, to help ensure that all Americans have meaningful access to effective civil legal services.
- The ABA urges governments to enact legislation requiring equal pay rates for employees performing relevantly similar work, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race or ethnicity, or disability.
- The ABA urges legal employers not to require pre-dispute mandatory arbitration of claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, martial status, or status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
- The ABA urges governments to reduce potential harm that individuals may inflict on themselves or others by enacting statutes, rules, or regulations allowing individuals to temporarily prevent themselves from purchasing firearms.
- Urges governments to: 1) enact laws and adopt policies that prohibit the use of out-of-school suspension and expulsion of pre-kindergarten through second grade students; 2) require ongoing training of teachers, administrators, and other school staff on alternatives to school exclusion; and, 3) provide sufficient funding and resources to ensure the provision of alternatives to school exclusion.
- Urges all courts and other appropriate government entities to interpret Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act to apply to technology, and goods and services delivered thereby, regardless of whether it exists solely in virtual space or has a nexus to a physical space.
- Urges all federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal legislative bodies and governmental agencies to enact laws and adopt policies regarding the use of solitary confinement for detainees according to the following:... Solitary confinement (also referred to as “segregation” or “restrictive housing”) is prohibited for individuals with Intellectual Disability or serious mental illness; the elderly; women who are pregnant, are postpartum, or recently had a miscarriage or a terminated pregnancy; and individuals whose medical conditions will be exacerbated by such confinement. (2/2018)
- Urges Congress and the Social Security Administration to strengthen the safeguards and protections for all individuals receiving benefits via the representative payee program, including, but not limited to, appropriate eligibility determinations, improved monitoring and training of payees, access to accounting for beneficiaries, and the appointment of an interim payee when a 6 payee is removed. (2/2018)
- Urges state, territorial, and tribal legislatures to (1) amend their guardianship statutes to require that supported decision-making be identified and fully considered as a less restrictive alternative before guardianship is imposed and (2) require that decision-making supports that would meet the individual’s needs be identified and fully considered in proceedings for termination of guardianship and restoration of rights. Further urges courts to consider (1) supported decision-making as a less restrictive alternative to guardianship and (2) decision-making supports that would meet the individual’s needs as grounds for termination of a guardianship and restoration of rights. (8/2017)
- Urges all federal, state, territorial, and tribal governments to enact legislation and implement public policy providing that (1) custody, visitation, and access shall not be denied or restricted, nor shall a child be removed or parental rights be terminated, based on a parent’s disability, absent a showing—supported by clear and convincing evidence—that the disability is causally related to a harm or an imminent risk of harm to the child that cannot be alleviated with appropriate services, supports, and other reasonable modifications and (2) a prospective parent’s disability shall not be a bar to adoption or foster care when the adoption or foster care placement is determined to be in the best interest of the child.(2/2017) [Note: link will download a Microsoft Word document.]
- Amends Rule 8.4 and Comment of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.(8/2016)
- Adopts the black letter of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards, chapter seven of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, dated August 2016, to supplant the Third Edition (August 1984) of the ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards.(8/2016)
- Urges the US President, US Senators, US Circuit Courts of Appeals and Circuit Judicial Councils, US District Courts, and Judicial Conference of the US to emphasize the importance of racial, ethnic, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender diversity when selecting persons for judicial appointments, appointing persons for judicial appointments, and/or hiring individuals in the federal court system.(8/2016)
- Urges state and territorial bar licensing entities to eliminate any questions that ask about mental health history, diagnoses or treatment when determining character and fitness for the purpose of bar admission. The questions should focus instead on conduct or behavior that impairs an applicant’s ability to practice law in a competent, ethical and professional manner. (8/2015)
- Expresses the ABA’s support for prompt ratification, by the United States and other nations, of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print-Disabled (the Treaty). The Treaty is designed to address a problem that has become known as the “book famine.” Over 300 million visually-impaired and other print-disabled persons, the majority of them in developing countries, are excluded from accessing over 95 percent of all published works. The Treaty provides a legal framework for addressing that problem in a manner that is fair and just, and respects the architecture of the international copyright system. (8/2014)
- Urges that the electoral process and voting methods are accessible to persons with disabilities and that polling places are free of physical, technological, and administrative barriers. Also urges governments to improve enforcement of voting rights for persons with disabilities and further urges election officials to ensure that election personnel and volunteers receive accessibility training and that persons with disabilities are actively encouraged to serve as election officials and volunteers. (8/2014)
- Urges governments to promote the human right to adequate housing for all through increased funding, development and implementation of affordable housing strategies and to prevent infringement of that right. (8/2013)
- Urges federal, tribal, state, territorial, local and municipal governments to enact legislation relating to youth in the juvenile justice system with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.(8/2013)
- Adopts the black letter Standards for Programs Providing Civil Pro Bono Legal Services to Persons of Limited Means, dated August 2013 to supplant the Standards adopted August 1996. (8/2013)
- Urges Congress to enact the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2013 (H.R.1601) or similar legislation that strengthens SSI by updating the resource limit to account for inflation, increasing the general and earned income disregards, eliminating a reduction in benefits for in-kind support and maintenance, and repealing the transfer penalty. (8/2013)
- Urges courts with jurisdiction over adult guardianship and governmental agencies that administer representative payment programs for benefits to collaborate with respect to information sharing, training and education in order to protect vulnerable individuals with fiduciaries who make financial decisions on their behalf.(8/2013)
- Supports the rights of all Americans, and particularly our nation’s veterans, to access adequate mental health and substance use disorder treatment services and coverage as required to be made available under federal and state law. (8/2013)
- Urges lawyers, judges, child welfare agency administrators, legislators, educators and educator regulatory bodies to support the enrollment in and successful completion of postsecondary education by youth in foster care, or those who have been in foster care. (2012)
- Adopts the Third National Guardianship Summit Standards and Recommendations, dated August 2012, and urges courts and policy making bodies to implement them.(2012)
- Urges legislative bodies and governmental agencies to adopt comprehensive breed-neutral dangerous dog laws based on behavior and to repeal any breed discriminatory or breed specific provisions.(8/2012)
- Urges Congress to amend the Patient-Self Determination Act provisions of the Medicare and Medicaid law regarding advance care planning. (8/2012)
- Urges attorneys and judges, state and local bar associations and law school clinical programs to help identify and respond effectively to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in children and adults through training to enhance awareness of FASD and its impact on individuals in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems, and the value of collaboration with medical, mental health and disability experts. (8/2012)
- Urges Law School Admission Test Administrators to Accommodate Those with Disabilities (2/2012)
- Urges Policies to Accommodate Disabled Persons Using Service Animals and Policies(2/2012)
- Urges federal, state, territorial, tribal and local governments to create and provide appropriate support for Youth or Teen Courts that, through a nondiscriminatory peer-driven restorative justice process involving family members, diverts youth from the formal consequences of juvenile court petitions, proceedings, adjudications, or juvenile justice sanctions. (2011)
- Urges Congress, and all federal, state and territorial administrative bodies to continue efforts to expand the availability of home and community based services (HCBS) as a viable long term option. (2011)
- Encourages the federal government, states, counties, tribes and territories to enact child welfare financing laws and policies that reform the child welfare financing structure to end the current fiscal incentives for states to place children in foster care at the expense of providing services that could keep children and families safely together. (2010)
- Supports the reauthorization, funding, and authority of the Protection and Advocacy System and related programs of legally based advocacy services protecting the rights of persons with disabilities; and opposes legislation that includes more restrictive requirements for class actions on behalf of persons with disabilities than what is required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (2010)
- Supports Reauthorization, Funding, and Authority of Protection & Advocacy Systems (8/2010)
- Urges the U.S. to Ratify and Implement the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (8/2010)
- This recommendation encourages the federal government, states, and school districts to pass laws and implement policies that will secure the right of every child to a high quality education. It also encourages attorneys and bar associations to help secure that right through improvements in state and federal law, representation of students, parents, and organizations, and community legal education (8/2009)
- The recommendation seeks laws and policies that would support the right of youth who have left school to return and complete their education, through more clearly establishing the right and facilitating its exercise through eliminating barriers to returning, establishing high-quality age appropriate program options, and creating coordination systems that enable youth to understand and avail themselves of those opportunities (8/2009)
- The recommendation calls for improving laws and implementing and enforcing policies that will help advance the right to remain in school, promote a safe and supportive school environment for all children, and enable them to complete school, by affirmatively addressing problems leading to students leaving school through dropping out, being excluded for disciplinary reasons, or being removed by criminal justice authorities(8/2009)
- Urges all federal, state, territorial and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to develop and assess innovative long-term care programs such as the “Compact for Long-term Care” as a reasonable and fair solution to long-term care financing. (2008)
- Urges Accessible Websites in the Legal Profession (8/2007)
- Urges Improvement of Administration of Elections to Facilitate Voting by Individuals with Disabilities (8/2007)
- Recommends that American Bar Association Goal IX be amended to state: To promote full and equal participation in the legal profession by minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities. (2007)
- Supports continuation of the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program, commonly known as Social Security and authorized by Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq., as a national system of social insurance; supports preservation of the Social Security Trust Funds and long-term solvency of the program; identifies hallmarks of the existing system by which to measure future proposals. (2005)
- This recommendation supports policies to help assure uninterrupted educational access, special education and related services, and stability for homeless children and youth as well as children and youth placed by public agencies in out-of-home settings (8/2004)
- States the American Bar Association’s opposition to replacing the Section 8 low-income housing voucher program --- the cornerstone of federal housing assistance for low-income families, senior citizens and people with disabilities --- with a state-administered block grant system. Urges state, local and territorial bar associations to promote a better understanding of the Section 8 housing voucher program and to ensure fair administration and access to this program for those entitled to participate. (2003)
- Urges Accessible Courthouses and Accommodations Policies (2/2002)
- Supports full implementation of the 1999 Foster Care Independence Act through appropriate state legislation in order to provide youth up to age 21 transitioning out of the foster care system full access to all necessary services. Also supports access to competent counsel for youth transitioning out of foster care. (2002)
- Designed to place the Association squarely behind needed improvements in accountability and enforcement in the Representative Payment System. (2002)
- Supports safe schools, while proposing that school responses to alleged student misbehavior be individualized and fair; urges the ABA to oppose "zero tolerance" policies that mandate either expulsion or referral of students to juvenile or criminal court, without regard to the circumstances or nature of the offense or the student's history. (2001)
- Supports uniform and comprehensive state and territorial standards, regulation, and oversight of facilities and programs, commonly referred to as "assisted living," offering to persons in a residential setting some degree of supervision or assistance with personal services and health care, sufficient to enable consumers to make informed choices about their care options; provide resident rights and legal protections; and ensure resident safely and appropriate, high quality care. (2001)
- Supports federal legislation that acknowledges individuals' rights to privacy of their health care information and protects the confidentiality of personally identifiable health information from any source, including electronic data and genetic material. (1999)
- Supports the right of consumers to a fan and efficient process for resolving problems with managed health care plans, including timely written notice of decisions to deny, reduce or terminate services, rigorous internal plan review and independent external review. The recommendation also supports consumer assistance through education and ombudsman programs and accessibility of managed care dispute resolution processes for enrollees who are older, frail, chronically ill or have disabilities. (1998)
- Recommends that when making character and fitness determinations of state and territorial judicial candidates, nominees, or appointees, any nominating or evaluating entity: 1) consider the privacy concerns of the candidates; 2) narrowly tailor questions concerning physical and mental disabilities or physical and mental health treatment in order to elicit information about current fitness to serve as a judge, with such reasonable modifications as may be required; and 3) take steps to ensure that the process does not have the effect of discouraging those who would seek judicial office from pursuing professional assistance when needed. (2/1998)
- Recommends Courts be Provided with Qualified Language Interpreters for Those Who are Deaf or Hearing-Impaired(7/1997)
- Supports federal legislation, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, that guarantees children with mental and physical disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Opposes efforts to eliminate, weaken, or circumvent such legislation. Also encourages lawyers, judges, and state and local bar associations to make legal services available to help ensure that children with disabilities are not deprived of a FAPE in the least restrictive environment, and supports attorney's fees provisions in federal legislation that help ensure legal assistance for children with disabilities who seek to obtain or continue free appropriate public education. (1996)
- Support the enactment of federal legislation to protect the privacy of personally identifiable health information by ensuring that individuals have access to their own records, that disclosures of such information generally are subject to the individual's consent, that law enforcement agencies have access to information only in accordance with Fourth Amendment principles, and that strong enforcement mechanisms and severe penalties are in place to address violations of the law.(1996)
- Support in principle the recommendations of the Final Report of the Supplemental Security Income Modernization Project, to improve access to the SSI program; to ensure that claims are handled fairly and efficiency, and to eliminate rules and procedures that are unreasonable; to increase Social Security Administration staffing; to raise the SSI benefit and resource levels; and to stop counting in-kind support as income. (1994)
- The Task Force on Member Benefits for Disabled Lawyers recommends that it be continued to help coordinate Association compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, to assist in identifying the specific needs of members with disabilities, to provide expertise to ABA entities on methods for making ABA programs, benefits, products and services accessible to members with disabilities, and to assist the Board of Governors in implementing such accessibility guidelines as the Board may adopt. (1992)
- Supports increased funding and development of well-managed, secure public and federally assisted housing and housing programs which meet the needs of all tenants, particularly those who are low-income, elderly or have disabilities (1992)
- Supports the enactment of authoritative measures, requiring studies of the existence, if any, of bias in the federal judicial system, including bias based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability, and the extent to which bias may affect litigants, witnesses, attorneys and all those who work in the judicial branch. (1991)
- Supports Efforts to Make the State and
Territorial Judicial Systems more Responsive to the Needs of the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities (8/1991)
- Commitment to Providing Benefits to Members with Disabilities (2/1991)
- Urges that persons with mental retardation not be sentenced to death or executed, and that legislation be enacted barring such executions. (1989)
- Urges that federal, state and local law, and the policies of private entitles concerning the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) should be consistent with principles in the following areas: Access to the Legal System and the Administration of Justice, Confidentiality, Public Health Law, Access to Health Care, HIV Testing and Counseling, Insurance, Drug Development, Employment, Discrimination, Public School Education, Child Welfare, Family Law, Drug Abuse, Immigration, and Educating the Public. (1989)
- Supports Federal Legislation for Protection of Disability Rights (8/1989)
- Recommends that the ABA adopt the Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards entitled "Competence and Confessions," dated August, 1988, which are set forth in Appendix A to the Report. The proposed Standards address the reliability and voluntariness of confessions by mentally disabled individuals. (1988)