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Barwatch Bulletin -- Preview of ABA Annual 2007 Meeting

August 2007
August 17, 2007

Once again, ABA Watch will be reporting live from the ABA's Annual Meeting, which are scheduled from August 9-14 in San Francisco. Today, we offer you a preview of some of the issues the ABA will be discussing at the Meeting.

Federalist Society and ABA Co-Sponsored Panel Discussion

Please join us on Sunday, August 12 for a Federalist Society panel discussion on "Congressional Oversight and Executive Power in Today's World," co-sponsored with the ABA's Individual Rights & Responsibilities Section. The panel will take place from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the Moscone Center West, Room 2004. A reception will follow. Panelists include Mark Agrast, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress; John Payton of Wilmer Hale; David Rivkin of Baker & Hostetler; and Glenn Sulmasy, Associate Professor of Law at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy. Past ABA President Robert Grey will moderate the discussion. For more details, visit You must RSVP by Friday, August 10 to rsvp@fed-soc.org to attend this free presentation.

Policies to Be Debated Before ABA House of Delegates

The American Bar Association's House of Delegates will consider a number of resolutions at its annual meeting in San Francisco on August 13 and 14. If adopted, these resolutions become official policy of the Association. What follows is a brief overview of some of these proposed recommendations:

Gender Identity Discrimination. Recommendation 104B, sponsored by the ABA's Commission on Youth at Risk, the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, the Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, and the Commission on Domestic Violence, urges "federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local legislatures, government agencies, and courts to adopt and implement laws, regulations, policies, and court rules that promote the safety, well-being, and permanent placement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are homeless or involved with the foster care system."

Global Corporate Citizenship. Recommendation 110B, sponsored by the ABA Task Force on International Rule of Law Symposia, "encourages corporations, lawyers, law firms and other professionals to promote corporate citizenship by supporting: compliant and ethical corporate behavior globally; global pro bono services; promotion of the rule of law; encouraging governments to pursue policies that support corporate citizenship and the rule of law; and sharing of best practices in corporate citizenship." The sponsors cite "the high-profile corporate scandals of recent years, the challenges of globalization and widespread concerns about global warming, among other things" as contributing to the greater desire for "corporate accountability." The authors stress the interdependence of corporate citizenship and the rule of law. The sponsors claim that this recommendation would likewise provide support for the 2008 ABA World Justice Forum Project.

Judicial Independence and Fair and Impartial Courts. Recommendation 110D, sponsored by the Task Force on International Rule of Law Symposia, urges the ABA to adopt the Principles on Judicial Independence and Fair and Impartial Courts. There are five major principles of judicial independence and fair and impartial courts: decisional independence, institutional independence, competent judges, adequate resources, and accountability.

Katrina Commission. The ABA's Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities sponsored Recommendation 116B, which "urges Congress to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the preparedness for, and the immediate and ongoing responses by, federal, state, and local governments to Hurricane Katrina, and to recommend appropriate measures designed to prevent or mitigate problems in responding to natural disasters in the future."

The Environment and the Rule of Law. Recommendation 110A urges "governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and other organizations to consider and integrate Rule of Law initiatives with global environmental issues."

State Secrets Privilege. Recommendation 116A, sponsored by the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, seeks to define a set of procedures regarding the use of the state secrets privilege in civil cases and "urges Congress to enact legislation consistent with these procedures."

Law Student Participation In Pro Bono Activities. The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar sponsors Recommendation 103A, which states that the ABA's House of Delegates concurs "in adopting Interpretation 302-10 concerning opportunities for law student participation in pro bono activities, dated August 2007, as an addition to the Standards for Approval of Law Schools and the Interpretations of the Standards."

Featured Speakers

  • Justice Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy will receive the ABA Medal, the Association's highest honor, on Monday, August 13.
  • Justice Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Breyer will deliver the keynote address at the ABA Opening Assembly on Saturday, August 11.
  • Gavin Newsom, Mayor, San Francisco
  • Michael Crichton, author, Jurassic Park
  • Rep. Daniel Lundgren, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Rep. Ed Perlmutter, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Rep. Pete Stark, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Tippi Hedren, Actress
  • Drew Days, III, former U.S. Solicitor General
  • Judge Judith Kaye, New York Court of Appeals
  • Kenneth Starr, Dean, Pepperdine University School of Law
  • James McElhaney, Best selling ABA Author
  • James Brosnahan, lawyer for John Walker Lindh
  • Kenneth Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Dennis Archer, former ABA President and former Mayor of Detroit
  • Judge Margaret McKeown, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • Judge Martha Berzon, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • Justice Myron T. Steele, Chief Justice, Delaware Supreme Court
  • Jim Burling, Pacific Legal Foundation

Featured CLE Presentations

  • Fair and Impartial Courts-Another Perspective?: "Research has shown that the public's trust and confidence in their state courts is at an unsatisfactorily low level, especially in minority communities."
  • Contingent Fees: Access to the Court or Threat to Capitalism?: "Is there a problem with contingent fees? Do plaintiff's lawyers reap a windfall when enormous fees are awarded?"
  • Talking About Race: "This session addresses how to discuss issues of race and ethnicity in your law firm, corporate legal department or law school admissions committee."
  • GWOT vs. SAVE or a New Legal Framework? Is it a Global War on Terrorism or a Struggle Against Violent Extremism?
  • What the Roberts/Alito Supreme Court May Mean to Public School Districts: An Early Response to Cases Involving Free Speech and Special Education.
  • Same Sex, Same Rights?: "Civil rights for same-sex couples have been denied in Congress and 45 states, but a majority of Fortune 500 corporations and a growing number of state and local governments guarantee equal employment opportunity covering sexual orientation and extend benefits to domestic partners. Is achieving equality for all families the civil rights issue of our generation?"
  • Respect for Same-Sex Couples and Their Relationships: Navigating the Hurdles Posed by Lack of Federal and State Recognition: "Increasing numbers of states have enacted statutory and constitutional provisions purporting to deny recognition of marriages between same-sex couples and, in some states, even purporting to deny recognition of domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other forms of relationships between same-sex couples. And, of course, the federal Defense of Marriage Act purports to provide that the federal government will not extend to same-sex couples the rights and protections provided to married heterosexual spouses."
  • Who Owns Your Genes? How Gene Patents are Trampling Individual Rights
  • How To Represent Petey: Animals in Entertainment.