Don’t Mess with Texas – American Bar Association Delegate Report Midyear Meeting 2020, 0620 RIBJ, RIBJ, 68 RI Bar J., No. 6, Pg. 31

AuthorRobert D. Oster, Esq. ABA Delegate and Past Rhode Island Bar Association President
PositionVol. 68 6 Pg. 31

Don’t Mess with Texas – American Bar Association Delegate Report Midyear Meeting 2020

No. Vol. 68 No. 6 Pg. 31

Rhode Island Bar Journal

June, 2020

May, 2020

Robert D. Oster, Esq. ABA Delegate and Past Rhode Island Bar Association President

The 2020 ABA Midyear Meeting of the House of Delegates took place in Austin, Texas on February 17, 2020. As I write this article about what was discussed and accomplished there, our state, country and the world are experiencing a medically advised lockdown and economic consequences resulting from COVID-19. There are special unprecedented challenges for us as lawyers in running our practices, the court system closures, and the communities we serve. Needless to say, no one could have predicted any of this in the House when we met in February.

Prominent among the meeting’s many Resolutions passed were those dealing with much needed promotion of civic education, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, the necessity of creating an overhaul to our immigration laws and courts that administer them, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), attacks on prosecutors by politicians which undermine the rule of law, renewal of the MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Act), policies on police use of lethal force when making an arrest, a series of actions related to encounters and treatment of service animals in both civilian and military circumstances, the ethical dilemma faced by lawyers who advise clients on cannabis related issues while it remains a federal but not state crime, the Uniform Automated Operation of Vehicles Act, safe storage of firearm requirements, and human trafficking and domestic violence.

We were addressed by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht who forcefully reminded us of the issues the Justices see as facing us all, namely, continued limits on access to the judicial system by persons of limited means, persons of color, and other marginalized communities, cyberattacks on our court management systems, and political attacks on judges which undermine the courts and the legal system. He did mention the continuing problem of treating opioid and other substance addicted populations and the challenges of making proper decisions and referrals related to individuals with mental health issues. He spoke of reinforcing the rule of law...

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