October 17, 2017 Articles

American Bar Association House of Delegates Update: Fall 2017

The latest from the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings.

By Grant C. Killoran

The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates meets at the ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings each year to consider various policy initiatives proposed by the various constituents of the ABA.  

The House is the policy-making body for the ABA to which its officers, sections, committees, and employees are responsible. The House represents not only various groups within the ABA but also the legal profession as a whole. Its membership of 589 is comprised of delegates elected by ABA members in each state, delegates from every state bar association, the larger local bar associations, the sections and divisions, other national organizations of the legal profession, and delegates elected by the members of the ABA registered at the ABA Annual Meeting. The U.S. attorney general and the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts also are members of the House by virtue of their offices. The House elects ABA officers and members of the ABA Board of Governors and formulates ABA policy. 

The House again convened at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami, Florida, on February 6, 2017. During its deliberations, the House addressed over 30 resolutions, including those listed below that may be of interest to health-care litigators. 

Resolution 10A
The Virgin Islands Bar Association submitted a recommendation urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider racial, ethnic, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender diversity in the selection process for appointment of amicus curiae, special masters, and other counsel.

This recommendation was approved, as revised, by the House.

Resolution 102
The ABA Standing Committee on the American Judicial System, Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, Section of Litigation, Commission on the American Jury, and Section of Tort Trial and Insurance Practice submitted a recommendation urging state courts to develop and implement a civil justice improvement plan to improve the delivery of civil justice guided by the recommendations of Call to Action: Achieving Civil Justice for All, as endorsed by the Conference of Chief Justices, and urging bar associations to promote those recommendations.

This recommendation was approved by the House.

Resolution 112D
The ABA Criminal Justice Section submitted a recommendation urging the Food and Drug Administration to update its current policy requiring deferment of blood donations from men who have sex with men for one year after the donor’s most recent sexual encounter with a man to a deferral policy that assesses the risk posed by an individual based on potential recent exposures rather than on the individual’s sexual orientation.

This recommendation was approved, as revised, by the House.

Resolution 116
The ABA Section of Health Law urged Congress to amend section 1862(a)(1) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395y, and urged the executive branch to adopt regulations that broaden the scope of Medicare coverage by allowing coverage for items and services that are reasonable and necessary.

This recommendation was approved, as revised, by the House.

Resolution 117E
The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws submitted a recommendation urging approval of the Uniform Unsworn Domestic Declarations Act as an appropriate act for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.

This recommendation was approved by the House.

Final Words
For more information regarding these resolutions, as well as the other resolutions discussed by the House at the 2016 ABA Mid-Year Meeting and the reports supporting those resolutions, please visit the ABA website at www.abanet.org/leadership/ 2017/midyear/.

The House of Delegates next meets at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York on August 14–15, 2017.


Grant Killoran is the coeditor of the ABA Section of Litigation Health Law Litigation newsletter and is one of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s delegates to the ABA House of Delegates. Grant is a partner and chair of the Litigation Practice Group at O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing S.C. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Copyright © 2017, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).