ANNUAL MEETING 2019

ABA leaders outline plans; reflect on accomplishments

At the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Aug. 12, outgoing ABA President Bob Carlson passed the presidential gavel to new ABA President Judy Perry Martinez.

New Orleans attorney Judy Perry Martinez  (right) became the American Bar Association president at the conclusion the ABA Annual Meeting.

New Orleans attorney Judy Perry Martinez (right) became the American Bar Association president at the conclusion the ABA Annual Meeting.

Martinez, a partner at Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfern in New Orleans, spoke to the House of Delegates about the need for the ABA to continue its critical work on behalf of migrants seeking refuge in America.

“Our Constitution demands, and our laws confirm, that we afford due process rights to immigrants and asylum-seekers who are in or are seeking entry into the United States,” said Martinez, who spent a week volunteering last year with Carlson at the Commission on Immigration’s ProBAR offices in Texas and will return there later this month to do pro bono service with incoming President-elect Trish Refo.

Martinez noted the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which “launched the largest expansion of democracy in our country’s history” by guaranteeing women the right to vote. She added, “This historic milestone offers unparalleled opportunities throughout the year for our members to engage in civics education, explore the issues of voting rights and equal rights today and encourage voting in elections at all levels.”

Earlier in the day, Carlson recounted that when Fred Rogers, the host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, was a boy and saw scary things on television, his mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Carlson thanked those helping to address lawyer well-being, helping migrants at the border, providing free legal services after natural disasters and those standing up for an “independent, fair, diverse and impartial judiciary,” among others.

He asked everyone to be a helper. “We need to be helpers who stand for the ABA’s values of unity, diversity, inclusion and equal justice for all.”

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