2020 ANNUAL MEETING

House of Delegates Resolutions

The ABA policymaking met during online sessions August 3-4 to debate and vote on a wide range of policy issues as part of the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.

Click on a resolution number for more info. 

 LIST OF RESOLUTIONS

RES. #

SUMMARY

STATUS

10A

Urges the United States to i) take all 2 necessary and proper actions within its power to end the ongoing armed conflict in the 3 Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, and ii) specifically promote consensual 4 change in Cameroon’s electoral process.

ADOPTED

10B

Supports an interpretation of the Equal 2 Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution which 3 guarantees that all persons residing in a territory of the United States who are otherwise 4 eligible to receive federal benefits shall receive them without regard to residence.

ADOPTED

10C

Supports an interpretation of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that recognizes all persons born in the territories, possessions, and commonwealths of the United States

ADOPTED AS REVISED

10D

Urges Congress to enact legislation extending the administrative forbearance of federally-held student loans, as included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

ADOPTED

10E

Urges the U.S. and U.N. to express their support and take actions in furtherance of such support for the autonomy, rule of law, judicial independence, and protection and respect for human rights in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

ADOPTED

10F

Urges the Department of Homeland Security to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s temporary exemption for continuing, incoming, and future nonimmigrant student visa holders for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADOPTED

10G

Urges the highest court or bar admission authority of each jurisdiction to cancel and to not administer any in-person bar examination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADOPTED

10H

Urges governments to prevent an eviction crisis, housing insecurity among renters, and destabilization of the housing market, especially the depletion of affordable housing, during and in the recovery from the state of emergency attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PROPOSED

10I

Urges governments to enact legislation containing criminal and civil sanctions to prohibit lynching, conspiracies to lynch, attempts to lynch, or solicitations to lynch a person.

PROPOSED

11-1

Amends §1.2 of the Association’s Constitution to include the following language as one of the purposes of the Association: “to defend the right to life of all innocent human beings, including all those conceived but not yet born.”

POSTPONED INDEFINITELY

11-2

Amends §6.8 to include the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) as an affiliated organization of the American Bar Association (ABA) and be represented in the ABA House of Delegates accordingly.

WITHDRAWN

11-3

Amends §31.7 of the Association’s Constitution to change the name of the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants to the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense and amend its jurisdictional statement.

ADOPTED

11-4

Amends §44.2(b) of the Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates to provide a presenter five minutes to present a resolution when the Chair of the House of Delegates invokes the rules of limited debate.

ADOPTED

11-5

Amends §45.1 and §45.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates to add the requirement that a resolution must advance one or more of the ABA’s Four Goals.

FAILED

100A

Urges all employers in the legal profession to implement, maintain, and encourage the use of paid family leave policies for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.

ADOPTED

100B

Supports the interpretation that “race,” as included in antidiscrimination statutes, be not limited to the color of one’s skin, but rather, includes other physical and cultural characteristics associated with race; urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact legislation banning race discrimination on the basis of the texture, style, or appearance of a person’s hair; encourages all federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local court systems, in conjunction with state, territorial, tribal and local bar associations, to carefully review their discrimination policies and provide implicit bias training to eradicate discrimination on the basis of the texture, style, or appearance of a person’s hair; and supports enactment of the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2019 (S. 3167, H.R. 5309, 116th Congress) or similar legislation that advances antidiscrimination on the basis of the texture, style, or appearance of a person’s hair.

ADOPTED

101

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 federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments provide state, local, territorial, and tribal election authorities with adequate funding to implement the Guidelines and Commentary.

ADOPTED

102A

Urges federal, state, territorial and tribal governments to enact and enforce legislation that prohibits and penalizes the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins; urges that all nations enact laws that prohibit and penalize the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins; and encourages all international, regional, national, and state bar associations, and international organizations, to promote policies and laws that prohibit and penalize the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins.

ADOPTED

102B

Urges all nations, including the United States, to become a party to and implement the 2019 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters.

ADOPTED

102C

Urges the United States, other nations, and the United Nations to facilitate and promote neutral and inclusive dialogues between the government of Cameroon and separatist leaders; urges adequate funding by the United States and other nations for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Humanitarian Response Plan; urges the United States, other nations, and the United Nations to urge the government of Cameroon and separatist groups, as applicable, to comply with their obligations under international human rights and international humanitarian law; urges the Commonwealth of Nations, the International Organization of La Francophonie, and the African Union to substantially support the above efforts and promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict; and urges the President of the United States to continue to withhold beneficiary country status under the U.S. Trade and Development Act of 2000 until the Cameroon government demonstrates measurable progress in establishing the rule of law, including by providing fair trials for prisoners detained in connection with protests against the government.

ADOPTED

103

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal 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.

ADOPTED

104A

Grants reaccreditation to the Social Security Disability Law program of the National Board of Trial Advocacy of Wrentham, Massachusetts, and the Business Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy Law, and Creditors’ Rights Law programs of the American Board of Certification of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

ADOPTED

104B

Adopts certain clarifying revisions to Standard 4.06(C) Written Examination of the Standing Committee on Specialization’s Standards for the Accreditation of Specialty Certification Programs for Lawyers, dated August 2020.

ADOPTED

105

Urges Congress to create and fund a Guardianship Court Improvement Program for adult guardianship (following the model of the State Court Improvement Program for child welfare agencies created in 1993) 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.

ADOPTED

106A

Urges criminal justice stakeholders to consider using a restorative justice response to crime as one effective alternative, or adjunct to, a criminal adjudicatory process, in appropriate cases; urges federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments to develop grant and funding streams to enable criminal justice stakeholders and community partner organizations to develop, maintain, and assess the effectiveness of restorative justice programs in a data-driven manner; and urges the National Institute of Justice to prioritize and make publicly available an evaluation of restorative justice practices nationwide.

ADOPTED

106B

Adopts the black letter of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Discovery, Fourth Edition, dated August 2020, to supplant the Third Edition (August 1994) of the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Discovery.

ADOPTED

107

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.

ADOPTED AS REVISED

108A

Urges Congress to enact legislation authorizing one or more principal officers, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, to review decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) determining the patentability of any claim reviewed by the PTAB before such decisions become final decisions of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and that the legislation should also restore Title 5 removal protections for Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) of the PTAB.

ADOPTED

108B

Supports, in principle, a transparent administrative process or processes to remove trademark registrations from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Principal or Supplemental Register.

ADOPTED

109A

Concurs in the action of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in making amendments dated August 2020 to Definitions, Standards, and Rules of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, that change the approval process for distance education programs to a substantive change process (Standard 105 and Rule 24) as required by the U.S. Department of Education, rather than the current variance process (Standard 107).

ADOPTED

109B

Concurs in the action of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in making amendments dated August 2020 to Rule 2 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools, authorizing the Council to act quickly to address an emergency impacting multiple law schools—either regionally or nationally, by providing temporary relief from a rule or the requirements of a standard to allow law schools to respond to the emergency.

ADOPTED

109C

Concurs in the action of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in making amendments dated August 2020 to Rules 2, 22, 24, 27, 29, and 39 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools.

ADOPTED

109D

Concurs in the action of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in making amendments dated August 2020 to Standards 102, 103, and 105 of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools.

ADOPTED

110

Urges Congress and the Administration to require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to remove regulatory barriers to full accreditation of Tribal Veterans Service Officers (TVSOs); provide sufficient federal funding for establishing and operating TVSOs where a tribal community is economically disadvantaged; and urges that when the Department of Veterans Affairs promulgates rules and regulations governing agent accreditation or the administration of programs, benefits, treatment, and services for veterans on Tribal land, the proposals be culturally competent, acknowledge the status of federally-recognized tribes as domestic dependent sovereigns, and be consistent with prevailing laws of sovereignty.

ADOPTED

111A

Adopts the “Best Practices for Third-Party Litigation Funding” dated August 2020

ADOPTED

111B

Urges all federal, state, tribal, local, and territorial governments to adopt policies and contractual provisions that: 1) prohibit conducting strip searches of children and youth, except in exceptional circumstances, 2) require that, if the child or youth must be strip-searched, the search is conducted in a manner that respects the sexual orientation and gender identity of the child or youth and is the least intrusive manner possible, 3) prohibit body cavity searches of children and youth; and encourages court systems, lawyers, law schools, and bar associations to promote awareness of the harmful effects of strip searches and body cavity searches of children and youth, including trauma and re-victimization.

ADOPTED AS REVISED

112

Grants approval to 1 paralegal education program, grants reapproval to 10 programs, withdraws the approval of 4 programs at the request of the institutions, and extends the term of approval to 48 programs.

ADOPTED

113A

Urges Congress to re-authorize and fully fund the Violence Against Women Act and similar legislation:1) Preserves the protections approved in the 2013 reauthorization of VAWA, and continues to respond to emerging challenges and to the concerns from the field of expert professionals, 2) Improves services, minimizes bias, and prioritizes safety, autonomy, and support for all victims of gender-based violence, with a particular emphasis on the self-defined needs of marginalized and underserved groups, 3) Enhances judicial, legal, and law enforcement tools that respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in a trauma-informed way, 4) Strengthens the healthcare system’s comprehensive and trauma-informed response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, 5) Provides economic and housing opportunities and protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including non-discrimination protections, and 6) Implements evidence-based prevention and educational programs that encourage healthy relationships and teach how to respond to attitudes and behaviors contributing to sexual and domestic violence.

ADOPTED

113B

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact legislation and policies to require all health care providers to obtain specific informed patient consent in advance for all medically unnecessary pelvic examinations.

ADOPTED AS REVISED

113C

Adopts the eight principles and accompanying commentary set forth in the U.S. Department of Justice December 15, 2015 guidance titled Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence; and urges all federal, state, territorial, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States to: (1) adopt those same principles; (2) provide periodic training to all law enforcement agency personnel to promote compliance with those principles; and (3) engage in regular review of compliance efforts and make any necessary adjustments to improve compliance.

ADOPTED

114

Urges all national governments to observe, respect, and protect the independence of the International Criminal Court; and condemns threats by governments to the International Criminal Court and its officers and personnel in the performance of their duties.

ADOPTED

115

Recognizes that effective reforms of legal systems that affect the fundamental rights of children and youth cannot be accomplished without active participation by individuals who experienced those systems as children and youth; encourages attorneys, judges, advocates, legislators, bar associations, and law schools to promote effective, ongoing, and authentic engagement in legal system reform and advocacy efforts by individuals who have experienced those systems as children and youth and to remove barriers to that engagement; urges law schools, bar associations, law firms, and other professional organizations to create pathways for individuals with lived experience in legal systems that affect children and youth to pursue and succeed in legal and advocacy careers, both within youth-serving systems and more broadly in the legal profession; and calls on organizations focused on improving legal systems that affect children and youth to incorporate individuals who experienced those systems as children into leadership positions.

ADOPTED

116A

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to enact legislation that requires: 1) law enforcement agencies to keep records of instances in which lethal force is used, 2) the appointment of a fully independent special prosecutor whenever a person’s death occurs in the custody of or during an encounter with a police officer or other law enforcement officer, and 3) a showing of objective reasonable necessity to establish a defense in criminal cases involving lethal force use by a police or other law enforcement officer.

ADOPTED AS REVISED

116B

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to: 1) adopt and enforce fair lending laws and other federal, state and local laws targeting unfair or deceptive acts or practices, 2) adopt laws and policies that promote the adoption of an enhanced non-discrimination compliance system for a vehicle loan, 3) adopt legislation requiring the timely notice and disclosure of pricing of add-on products by dealers on each vehicle through reasonable means; urges Congress to amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to require documentation and collection of the applicant’s race, gender or national origin for non-mortgage credit transactions, specifically for vehicle transactions; and encourages state, local, territorial and tribal bar associations to offer educational programming and materials to lawyers and consumers to help them understand and navigate purchases and financing of vehicles.

ADOPTED AS REVISED

116C

Opposes federal, state, local, territorial and tribal legislation, regulation, and agency policy that discriminates against transgender and non-binary people on the basis of gender identity and/or that imposes barriers to obtaining or providing medically necessary care to affirm an individual’s gender identity

ADOPTED

116D

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal legislatures to enact legislation, and correctional and detention facilities for both adults and minors to enact policies requiring that all incarcerated persons are provided with: 1) soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and facial tissues in sufficient quantities to prevent the transmission of infectious disease; 2) personal protective equipment including personal sanitizing products and face masks that are effective in preventing existing and emerging infections in sufficient quantities to prevent the transmission of infectious disease; and 3) sufficient facilities for hand washing, including unrestricted access to clean water and working sinks.

ADOPTED

116E

Urges federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments to: 1) enact and enforce legislation directing law enforcement officials and election officials to establish a protocol where pretrial detainees, who are eligible to register to vote or vote in the jurisdiction in which they are detained are given the opportunity to register to vote and cast ballots in their respective federal, state, and local elections; and 2) promulgate and enforce regulations that facilitate the participation of such pretrial detainees in all federal, state, local, and special elections, including the ability to register to vote, obtain a ballot, and have that ballot delivered to the appropriate elections office.

ADOPTED

116F

Urges the United States Department of Defense to declare that: (a) HIV status alone has no impact on service members’ ability to fully execute their duties and is not a determinant of fitness for duty; and (b) HIV is not a medical condition that should disqualify a person from enlistment, appointment, commissioning, deployment or retention in the U.S. military

WITHDRAWN

116G

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.

ADOPTED

116H

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to: 1) repeal laws that disenfranchise persons based upon criminal conviction, 2) restore voting rights to those currently and formerly incarcerated, including those on probation, parole, or any other community-based correctional program, 3) assure that no person convicted of crime is disenfranchised because of nonpayment of a fine, court costs, restitution or other financial obligations imposed as a result of a criminal conviction; and amends the Criminal Justice Standards on Collateral Sanctions and Discretionary Disqualification of Convicted Persons (3d Edition, 2004).

ADOPTED

117

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to: 1) use a considered and measured approach in adopting and utilizing virtual or remote court proceedings established as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) form appropriate committees to establish or review the use of virtual or remote court proceedings and make recommendations for procedures, revisions of procedures and best practices; 3) ensure that virtual or remote court proceedings guarantee equal access and meet standards of fundamental fairness and due process; 4) provide advance notice of proceedings and ensure full and meaningful public access to virtual proceedings, while also protecting the privacy of those proceedings legally exempted from public access; 5) reintroduce in-person court options as soon as safely feasible as determined by public health officials, and 6) study the impacts of virtual or remote court procedures and take steps to halt, alter, or revise virtual or remote court procedures if such study suggests prejudicial effect or disparate impact on case outcomes.

ADOPTED

300A

Urges the United States (“U.S.”) 2 Congress to preserve and protect each American citizen’s right to vote in federal elections 3 by enacting legislation that prohibits the use of false, deceptive, or misleading statements, 4 information, acts, or practices by a foreign principal or its agent.

PROPOSED

300B

Urges federal, state, local, territorial, and 2 tribal governments, and private sector entities to promote digital literacy, civic education, 3 and public awareness to build societal resilience to domestic and foreign malign 4 disinformation operations.

ADOPTED

301A

Urges governments to enact legislation to eliminate or substantially curtail the defense of qualified immunity in civil actions brought against law enforcement officers.

ADOPTED

301B

Urges governments to declare June 19 (Juneteenth) as a paid legal holiday.

ADOPTED

301C

Calls upon the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to desist from the use of force by federal agents to suppress lawful First Amendment activity.

ADOPTED

400A

Recommends that certain Association policies that pertain to public issues and are 10 years old or older be archived.

ADOPTED

400B

Recommends that certain Association policies that pertain to public issues that were adopted in 2000 which were previously considered for archiving but retained be archived.

ADOPTED