ROBERT D. OSTER, ESQ. ABA DELEGATE AND PAST RHODE ISLAND BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT
As I write this column our area is experiencing its third nor'easter in two weeks. By the time you are reading this column it will be spring. I can assure you that the weather in Vancouver at the Midyear Meeting in early February at the ABA House of Delegates was not much more pleasant, albeit more rain than snow due to the temperate climate of the Pacific Ocean.
Several important resolutions passed the House. Without elaborating now on each, I will list them as follows: Dreamers/DACA; sexual harassment; in the legal profession, a rather personal debate over, of all things, unclaimed property; the elimination of the tax deduction for student loan interest debt; street youth; long-term careers of women in the profession; qualifications of federal judges; and attacks on Special Prosecutor Mueller's investigations.
We also heard from the Honorable Maureen O'Connor, Chair of the Chief Justice's Conference, where she decried the "criminalization of poverty" by imposing bail and/or other conditions defendants cannot possibly comply with, the impact of the opioid epidemic on the courts, and ICE's policy relative to in-courthouse apprehensions. We passed resolutions urging the elimination of gender or sexual orientation as a grounds for exclusion from juries per Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) and/or in the military.
I am an active member and past president of the National Caucus of State Bar Associations which met and discussed grassroots opinions on pending resolutions. The Caucus has been an important resource and voice for Main Street lawyers such as myself. My involvement in...