Many folks don’t know that the once-credible American Bar Association has gone all-in with the institutional left. Even some lawyers don’t know. Even some lawyers who are ABA members don’t know!
But thanks to the Federalist Society, we are treated to the Bar Watch Bulletin that catalogs the ideological drift of the ABA. The latest issue is out, and is full of parody, bias and more than one reason for mainstream American lawyers to end their memberships with the ABA.
ABA President James Silkenat delivered a doozy of a speech at the mid-year ABA meeting. The Federalist Society always catalogs the ideological shenanigans at ABA events. Silkenat didn’t disappoint. In is speech he used the familiar left-wing tactic of making an ideological and partisan statement, and saying it wasn’t ideological and partisan. From the Federalist Society:
ABA President James Silkenat addressed voting rights and gun violence in his remarks to the ABA House of Delegates on Monday, February 10.
Silkenat warned the House, “Voting rights in the United States are clearly under attack. Whether you agree or disagree with the Citizens United and Shelby County decisions, it is easy to see how our democracy can be undercut by rules and regulatory practices aimed at limiting full and fair voter participation. This is not a partisan issue.”
He announced that the theme for Law Day this year is “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.” According to the ABA’s Law Day webpage: “Much of the struggle on voting rights began decades ago, but the work is far from complete, and a citizen’s right to cast a ballot remains at risk today.” One feature on the website asked for analysis of this political cartoon which illustrates voter ID laws and early voting curbs as obstacles in the reflecting pool under a sign stating “Wipeout Voter Fraud.”
Silkenat also discussed gun control. Choking up, he declared, “I am still heartsick that Congress was unable to respond to the tragedy that took place in Newtown. I have a farm not too far from there and know how the families involved have been destroyed by the loss of their children. But Congress failed to prevent these tragedies in the future. Many members of Congress seem more interested in their approval rating from the gun lobby than in protecting the safety of their constituents.” He emphasized, “The ABA does not get involved in politics. As an organization, we do not support political candidates.
This would be laugh-filled parody if so many lawyers weren’t hoodwinked by the pedigree of the ABA. Notice how the ABA throws itself all-in with the anti-Second Amendment left and the voter-fraud deniers who seek to erode election integrity, all the while claiming that they aren’t acting in a partisan way.
Healthcare isn’t a partisan issue. Federal control over elections isn’t a partisan issue. Guns aren’t a partisan issue. Except these days, they are all partisan issues. The way partisans get what they want is by telling you that what they want isn’t a partisan issue. ABA leaders believe so deeply in things like gun control, federalized elections and race preferences that they can’t imagine any disagreement.
The ABA is run by a bunch of zealots. The Washington, D.C., staff is even worse.
Who will be leading the ABA next year? FedSoc has the answer:
The ABA nominated Paulette Brown of Edwards Wilman in Morristown as its President-Elect for 2014-15. Brown will be the first African-American woman to head the ABA. She has donated both to President Barack Obama and Senator Cory Booker. Patricia Lee Refo was nominated as Chairman of the House of Delegates for a two-year term beginning in August 2014. She is a partner in the Phoenix office of Snell & Wilmer. In the last four years, Refo has donated to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DNC Services Corp., the Democratic Party of Arizona, President Barack Obama, and several Democratic Congressional candidates.
The midwinter meeting was full of highlights betraying the biases of the ABA. What do the Olympics have to do with practicing law? From FedSoc:
The ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity was one of the 11 prime sponsors of the Midyear Meeting program. The Commission sponsored a CLE program on Russia’s laws on homosexuality and how these laws affected the Olympics. The ABA also honored seven lawyers with its 2014 Spirit of Excellence awards, presented by its Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
The ABA is also agitating to require law schools to impose a 50 hour pro-bono service requirement for all graduates. The reason the ABA is keen to do this is because most of the pro-bono infrastructure is aimed at left-wing causes – race issues, economic justice issues, plaintiff’s work and so on. Forcing students to devote 50 hours to “pro bono” work will mean, on balance, more free labor for the left. They want law students to help them march through more institutions.
Naturally race played a big role at the ABA meeting, and FedSoc covered it. The “scandal” involves disparate bar passage rates and whether they are racially discriminatory.
An earlier and more stringent proposal to raise the passage rate to 80% within two years of graduation also failed to gain traction after the National Bar Association and the Society of American Law Teachers argued that it would have “dire consequences on law schools with racially diverse populations.” Similar concerns were expressed regarding proposed elimination of the alternative 15-point threshold. Although the decision to hold off on tightening the bar passage requirement was unanimous, at least one member indicated that the Committee did so “while holding its collective nose.”
This issue of ABA Watch is one in a long line of bad behavior by the ABA. The ABA recently supported the nomination of the radical Debo Adegbile.
If you are moderate or conservative lawyer reading this and belong to the ABA, ask yourself why. Is it the life insurance they offer? Perhaps the occasional CLE seminar? Practice tips?
Guess what — all of those things are available elsewhere. The Federalist Society, for example, offers loads of CLE credits a year. State bar associations provide life insurance options. And in the age of the internet, you don’t need a monthly glossy magazine from the ABA to tell you how to practice law. Simply, there is no reason for anyone except a leftist lawyer to belong to the ABA. The ABA ain’t what it used to be, and unless you agree with their radicalizing agenda, there is no reason for you to send them your money.