The Section’s 17 substantive committees are off to a busy start to the 2006-07 ABA year. Each committee is examining issue areas and developing projects pertinent to their area of expertise including: Presidential signing statements; privacy concerns as they relate to medical records; unmet needs in Indian country; the separation of church and state and how it affects the curriculum in our public schools; and mental illness and the death penalty. Below is just a snapshot of a few of the specific projects on which Section committees are currently working.
The Public Education Committee will hold a CLE Teleconference on Nov. 9, at 1:30 p.m. EST on the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). Under the IDEA, millions of children with disabilities receive special services designed to meet their unique educational needs. During the teleconference, experts will provide practical tips on navigating the IDEA and examine changes contained in the regulations. Panelists include:
Alex Hurder , Clinical Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University School of Law (moderator);
Daniel Ahearn , Attorney-Advisor, Office of Public Interest Advising, Harvard Law School, and former Director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals;
Sue Gamm , Public Consulting Group, and former Chief Specialized Services Officer for the Chicago Public Schools, and Division Director for the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Chicago, Ill. ;
Maryann Overrath , solo practitioner Austin, Tex. , formerly of the Southern Disability Law Center; and
Robert Klein , Parent; Partner, McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, and former Chief Justice, Hawaii Supreme Court.
For more information about the teleconference and to register for CLE credit, please visit http://www.abanet.org/cle/programs/t06pde1.html , or call 800/285-2221.
The Committee is also drafting a policy recommendation addressing the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and, more specifically, underfunded public school districts, and will hold a CLE program at the 2007 ABA Midyear Meeting in Miami, on the same topic.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
At the 2006 ABA Annual Meeting in Honolulu, the House of Delegates passed a policy drafted by the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which urged federal, state, local, and territorial governments to enact legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity or expression, in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The Committee is currently drafting a recommendation, for submission to the House of Delegates in Feb. 2007, urging the ABA to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the language of Goal IX which currently reads, “ To promote full and equal participation in the legal profession by minorities, women and persons with disabilities.” The Committee also will hold a CLE teleconference on Nov. 1, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. EST, addressing the legal landscape regarding children born to same-sex couples through assisted reproductive technologies. The program will examine the ways in which same-sex couples create families and how the law treats these families throughout the country. Panelists include:
Richard A Wilson, Chair, National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, Chicago, Ill.;
Joan Heifetz Hollinger , Professor, Boalt Hall School of Law, San Francisco, Calif.;
Susan L. Crockin, Law Offices of Susan L. Crockin, Newton, Mass.; and
Judith Sperling-Newton, The Law Center for Children & Families, Madison, Wisc.
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold a planning conference in January 2007, to bring together law students with disabilities to form a national student organization to encourage those with disabilities to pursue careers in the legal profession, and to provide resources for students in the admissions process, throughout their tenure in law school, and in securing employment after graduation. The conference will be held at the American University’s Washington College of Law.
For more information about these projects or the work of the Section’s other committees, please contact the Section office at 202/662-1030 or visit our website at http://www.abanet.org/irr/.