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Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to speak at American Bar Association Annual Meeting Aug. 7-12 in Boston


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Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to speak at American Bar Association Annual Meeting Aug. 7-12 in Boston

By John Glynn

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014 — Post-Snowden cybersecurity issues, restoration of voting rights, immigration and the growing pains of the Affordable Care Act are the focus of just some of the legal programs at the 2014 American Bar Association Annual Meeting Aug. 7-12 in Boston.


High-profile speakers at the meeting include Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. (Aug. 11, 11 a.m.) and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (Aug. 9, 4 p.m.). Johnson will keynote the ABA Assembly, where the association will present the ABA Medal, its highest honor. Also, several bestselling authors, including Richard North Patterson, Allison Leotta and Talmage Boston, will discuss law as a platform for writing (Aug. 9, 12:30 p.m.).

In addition to the more than 1,100 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Aug. 11-12 at the Hynes Convention Center Ballroom, Level 3. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the two-day session, click here

Online registration for news reporters is easier than ever. Credential guidelines are here.  

Annual Meeting programs include:

Thursday, Aug. 7

Legal Challenges for Returning Service Members” — More than 2.2 million troops were sent into battle for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As these service members return home, many confront all kinds of legal challenges, including those related to employment, benefits and medical issues. Panelists will discuss the laws that protect these service members as well as the rights and obligations of those serving them.

10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Room 103, Plaza Level, Hynes Convention Center

The Present and Future Air Space: Emerging Legal Issues of Drones and Commercial Space Travel – This program will focus on the evolving national airspace system. Panelists will examine the use of drones, commercial satellites and space tourism, as well as regulation and contracting issues.

2-5 p.m., Grand Ballroom B, 4th Floor, Hyatt Regency Boston

Insuring Against Terrorism—TRIA and Private Insurance in the Wake of the Marathon Bombings” — The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings resulted in $23 million in health insurance claims and $2.5 million in property and casualty losses, among damages. Deputy Commissioner Robert A. Whitney of the Massachusetts Division of Insurance and other panelists will discuss actions to ensure the proper handling of claims and the role of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the federally mandated terrorism insurance program that is set to expire this year.

3:30-5 p.m., Press Room, Mezzanine Level, Omni Parker House

“The NSA (likely) is Watching You Privacy and Data Security and the Rise of Cyber Theft” — In the aftermath of the explosive revelations of the NSA-Snowden disclosures, companies such as Google now admit that its confidential data is systematically monitored by the U.S. government. Experts will explore protection against government intrusion and employee theft of confidential data in the post-Snowden world.

3:30-4:45 p.m., Room 103, Plaza Level, Hynes Convention Center

Friday, Aug. 8

Affordable Care Act: Current and Anticipated Growing Pains” — Panelists will discuss the difficulties related to the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, including corporate restructurings, litigation issues surrounding mandates, scope of essential health benefits and controversies about coverage of contraceptives.

8-9:15 a.m., Room 103, Plaza Level, Hynes Convention Center

Bullyproof: The Impact of Bias and How it Leads to Bullying” — Panelists, including  representatives from the Boston Public Schools, Anti-Defamation League and Boston College, will explore how biases relate to bullying and the necessary steps of schools and workplaces to deal with the problem.

9:15-10:15 a.m., Back Bay Ballroom C, 2nd Floor, Sheraton Boston

“Don’t Play With Your Food: The New Federal Crackdown on Food Fraud”“Food fraud” describes the intentional manipulation of food with cheaper ingredients in the supply and delivery chain. Some experts estimate that up to 7 percent of the U.S. food supply is affected by fraud, creating an industry worth $49 billion a year. This panel will discuss criminal, regulatory and compliance implications of food fraud violations.

10:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m., Room 209, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

Sports Law Roundtable: The Donald Sterling Controversy-- Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann will lead a panel of sports law experts in a discussion of the Donald Sterling controversy and the legal, business and ethical issues relating to his impending ouster from the NBA.

Noon-1:30 p.m., 16 Beacon Street, Boston Bar Association

“A Review of the National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws Report” — One year after the Trayvon Martin case, The ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws will present the findings from the 2013 public hearings it held in five cities to explore the impact of the state statutes that have dramatically expanded the bounds of self-defense laws in more than half the jurisdictions in the United States.

1-3 p.m., Room 204, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

“National Security Surveillance after Snowden” – Second General Counsel Robert S. Litt of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are among panelists who will examine the balance between threat protection and privacy rights since the NSA-Snowden disclosures. Discussion will focus on privacy, foreign intelligence surveillance reform and legislation.

2-3:30 p.m., Room 301, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

“3D Printing: An Interactive Look at Its Utility to Medicine and Its Attractiveness to Pirates and Terrorists” — 3D printing, the powerful technology now being used to create everything from clothes to coffee cups to medical devices and weapons, has given rise to several legal and ethical concerns. A panel will discuss the security issues posed by 3D printing, including gun control issues, and constitutional and national security issues.

2-3:30 p.m., Room 313, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

A Turn to Justice: Examining the Dream of Brown and the Civil Rights Act — As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a panel of experts will discuss the impact of the laws, how far we have come, existing disparities and how to address them. The program will include remarks by William Harbour and other Freedom Riders who will share their firsthand accounts as civil rights activists.

3:30-5 p.m., Room 302-306, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

Saturday, Aug. 9

“The Case for Marriage Equality” David Boies and Ted Olson, the bipartisan legal team who fought to overturn California’s Proposition 8, will discuss Hollingsworth v. Perry, their 2013 Supreme Court victory. The lawyers are the authors of the new book, “Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality.”

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 312, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

“Combating Gun Violence: A Role for Lawyers and the Bar” — In the vacuum of leadership on this issue, communities must find ways to create dialogue among police, public officials and community-based organizations to address the challenges related to gun violence. This panel, which includes ABA President Jim Silkenat and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, will discuss current Second Amendment law and developments in other related fields, such as public health and legislative initiatives.

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 207, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

Shelby v. Holder: Its Impact and Implications— This program will look at the impact and implications of the opinion in Shelby v. Holder one year later. Panelists will discuss discriminatory voting practices, new legislative efforts to restore invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act and the demographic trends that will influence the future of voting.

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 306, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

“The Evolution of Cybersecurity and Planning for a Response” — As incidents of cyberhacking rise, U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin, D-RI, co-founder of the Congressional  Cybersecurity Caucus, and other panelists will discuss current cyber threats, applicable laws and security standards.

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 310, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

“The Changing Legal Landscape of Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights: The Struggle for Control” — The Supreme Court decision on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Store has vast implications for women’s reproductive rights. Moreover, several states are enacting laws that give government increasing powers over women’s healthcare decisions. Panelists will examine these growing restrictions on reproductive health services and the implications of them.

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 202, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

“Law as a Platform for Writing” — Prominent authors Richard North Patterson, Allison Leotta, Charles Ogletree and Talmage Boston will discuss their legal writing careers.

12:30-1:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall C, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

No Deportation Without Representation? — Panelists, including Juan Osuna, director of the DOJ's Executive Office for Immigration Review, will examine the legal and practical challenges faced by detained individuals – including minors and other vulnerable immigrants –held in detention centers throughout the United States, review the current state of the law and immigration policies and review programs providing appointed legal representation.

2-3:30 p.m., Room 207, Level 2, Hynes Convention Center

On the Docket: The 2013 Supreme Court Term” — A look at the recently completed Supreme Court term and a preview of headline cases for the term starting in October. Topics include the Court’s rulings on protests at abortion clinics, the role of religion in government proceedings, police search practices and the procedures regulating class actions.

2-3:30 p.m., Room 311, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

Sunday, Aug. 10

What Lawyers Need to Know about Same-Sex Marriage After US v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry — One year after the Supreme Court found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, nationally recognized experts – including Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims and Civil Rights Project Director  Mary L. Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders – will examine the current status of the law, how we reached it and the impact of the Court’s decision on various elements of labor and employment law.

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 306, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

Federal Courts at the Intersection of Law and Politics — Panelists will discuss the process of federal judicial appointments, how politics have impacted that process and how the Senate’s new rules may affect the federal judiciary.

10:30 a.m.-noon, Room 312, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center

Monday, Aug. 11

“Annual Meeting Keynote by Chief Justice Roberts” Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. will keynote the American Bar Association House of Delegates meeting, where he will speak about the historical and present-day significance of the Magna Carta, which laid the groundwork for representative democracy and the rule of law upon its signing in June 1215. His appearance will officially kick off the commemorative activities by the ABA and others of the document’s 800th anniversary next year.

11 a.m., Ballroom, Level 3, Hynes Convention Center.

For a full list of programs at the 2014 ABA Annual Meeting, click here for instructions on downloading the program guide app available for mobile devices and desktop computers.

During the Annual Meeting, accredited journalists should register on site at the Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D, Level 2, beginning at noon on Aug. 6. A press room for accredited reporters will be provided in the same area of the Hynes Convention Center, starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 7. The room will be open daily thereafter from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the House of Delegates adjourns on Aug. 12.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.