CLA Supports Racial Justice Resolutions at the ABA House of Delegates

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The American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates has adopted a resolution sponsored by the California Lawyers Association urging governments to pass anti-lynching legislation to “make it clear that such measures have no place in a system dedicated to the fair administration of justice and the rule of law.”

ABA Resolution 101 marked the first time in CLA’s two-year history that it put forward a resolution that was ratified by the policy-making body of the ABA.

CLA also supported three other ABA resolutions focused on racial justice, all of which were ultimately adopted by the House of Delegates. They are:

  • ABA Resolution 116A calling for greater oversight of law enforcement in light of the national debate on police brutality and racial injustice, including comprehensive data collection about deadly force incidents and excessive force complaints. An amendment by CLA calls for the proposed database to cover the removal of a police officer’s license or badge.
  • ABA Resolution 301A urging governments to limit the doctrine of police qualified immunity that was expanded during the past 40 years by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • ABA Resolution 301B supporting the establishment of June 19, or Juneteenth, as a paid, national legal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery.

To support its anti-lynching resolution, the CLA cited a 2017 report by the Equal Justice Initiative finding that about 4,383 racial terror lynchings were reported between 1877 and 1950 in the United States. Lynching was often employed to enforce the exploitation of Black people and generally not prosecuted by government agencies. Despite requests of elected officials and civil rights organizations, the federal government has failed to enact anti-lynching legislation.

CLA worked on the ABA resolutions as part of our commitment to racial justice.

CLA’s delegates were pleased to collaborate with the other members of the California Delegation – including representatives from the State Bar of California, local bar associations and California-based lawyers who are members of other ABA sections and committees. We also thank the ABA’s Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice and the Criminal Justice Section.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to advance our shared goals of promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law,” CLA President Emilio Varanini said.