April 01, 2019

Division Delegate Report

By Gregory G. Brooker

The meeting of the ABA House of Delegates (HOD) took place at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas on January 28, 2019.  

Remarks by ABA President Bob Carlson
ABA President Bob Carlson gave a midyear report on his year as president. Carlson spoke about defending the independence of the judiciary. He gave a “robust defense” of the nation’s judiciary and stated, “we can never stop defending our nation’s courts.” Carlson also shared the association’s most recent stand, referring to the dangers risked by the longest government shutdown in history. “Failure to fund our federal courts and the institutions of justice is an attack on due process and the rule of law,” he said.

In addition, Carlson highlighted the pro bono initiatives of the Association and emphasized that it was important for the ABA to follow through on its new membership model.

Remarks of Executive Director Rives
In his remarks, Jack Rives detailed the need for the ABA to gain new members by embracing the new membership initiative and fee model. He also indicated that every nonprofit organization based on members is facing similar challenges as the ABA.

Resolutions of Interest to GPSLD
Following the speeches, the House of Delegates considered many resolutions at its session on January 28. Here is a recap of the resolutions of most interest to members of the Division.   

Resolution on Lactation Areas in Courthouses (Resolution 101A). The House adopted this resolution, which was sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division. The YLD will continue to expand on the resolution to include federal agencies and other places of employment for lawyers in future resolutions and policy initiatives.

Resolution on Court Continuances Based on Parental Leave (Resolution 101B). The House passed a resolution, also sponsored by the YLD, with some slight revisions, which urges courts to grant continuances based on parental leave of lawyers.

Resolution on “Fair Use” Doctrine in Copyright Law (Resolution 104). After extensive debate, the House passed a resolution encouraging a consistent approach to the application of the fair use doctrine in copyright cases. 

Resolution Opposing Arming Teachers (Resolution 106A).  This resolution, which opposed the arming of teachers with firearms and the use of public funds for firearms training for teachers, passed the House.

Resolution on Gun Injunctions (Resolution 106B). After it was withdrawn at the Annual Meeting last summer, the House passed this resolution urging governments to enact statutes, rules, or regulations that allow individuals to voluntarily submit their names to data bases used for gun background checks and to remove themselves from those systems.

Resolution Urging Possession of Firearms in Courthouses by Only Persons in Official Roles (Resolution 106C). This resolution was withdrawn by its supporters, as dialogue with ABA entities continues leading up to the Annual Meeting in August.

Resolution Regarding Searches and Seizures at the Border (Resolution 107A). The House approved this resolution, which urged the adoption of policies and legislation to protect the privacy interests of those crossing the border.

Resolution on Mandatory Arbitration (Resolution 107B). This resolution, which urged legal employers not to require pre-dispute mandatory arbitration of claims on unlawful discrimination, was passed by the House.

Resolution regarding “Zero Tolerance” at the Border (Resolution 109A). The HOD enacted this resolution, which urged the rescinding of the U.S. Attorney General’s mandate that all persons alleged to have entered the U.S. for the first time be prosecuted for a misdemeanor and the rescinding of the expedited mass prosecutions of immigrants for such misdemeanor offenses.

Resolution on Expungement (Resolution 109B).  This resolution urged legislatures to define which arrests and dispositions are eligible for expungement. The HOD passed the resolution.

Resolution on Female Inmates (Resolution 109C). This resolution urged enactment of  legislation to provide female prisoners with unrestricted access to toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. It was enacted by the House.

Resolution regarding Child Torture (Resolution 109D). This resolution, which was passed by the HOD, urged the adoption of clear definitions of child torture and to make child torture a felony in more situations.

Resolution on Criminal Record Accuracy (Resolution 110A). The House approved this resolution which approved the Uniform Criminal Records Accuracy Act for adoption by the states.

Resolution on Global Migration (Resolution 116). This resolution, which was adopted by the House, urged the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees.

All of the resolutions addressed by the House of Delegates at the Midyear Meeting can be found here

The House of Delegates will next convene at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco in August.

Gregory G. Brooker is an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota. He was the Division Chair in 2014-2015 and serves along with Alexander W. Purdue, Colonel, USAF (ret.) of Santa Fe, NM. Delegate Purdue was unable to attend the Midyear Meeting; Division Chair Judge Susan Burke was appointed and authorized to sit as a Delegate for the Division in his place.