ABA House of Delegates


Mecklenburg County Bar ABA Delegate - M. Cabell Clay

Comments from the Chair of the House
Barbara J. Howard

Although it is no longer the first of the New Year, let me take this opportunity to still wish all of you a healthy and Happy New Year and every success in both your professional and personal lives in 2021. We will all be very interested in seeing how this new year and new chapter in our nation’s history unfolds. Here’s to the ABA’s ability to advance the goals and policies that this House implements throughout the country and the world, including most notably in the halls of Congress and in the Executive Branch. And here’s to our ability to meet in person one day soon, though not soon enough! On the ‘home front”, the Committees of the House are very busy preparing for this month’s Midyear Meeting of the House of Delegates. As I’m sure you all know, our meeting will once again be virtual, since the vaccine has not been widely enough distributed to allow us to move back to an in-person setting. Each Committee is working very hard to ensure that this meeting will be every bit as successful as the 2020 Annual Meeting of the House. To briefly update you as to the activities of each of the Committees of the House:

Rules and Calendar Committee
Chaired by Pamela Bresnahan of Maryland, this Committee has reviewed and overseen the final drafting of all that is now in the eBook of Resolutions with Reports for the Midyear Meeting. As you can see, we will be busy with some interesting and timely proposed resolutions. You’ll also note that we are scheduled to begin our first session of the House on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. CST, and will work until 1:00 p.m. CST that afternoon, and then begin our second session at 2:00 p.m. CST, and adjourn no later than 5:30 p.m. CST.

Issues of Concern to the Profession Committee
While typically not part of the Midyear Meeting, this Committee, chaired by Steve Younger of New York with Vice-Chair James Williams of Washington, have eagerly undertaken to assemble what looks to be a stellar panel presentation on the United States Supreme Court. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers following the panel presentation which is the last portion of the morning session. Also, please be sure to check out Chair Younger’s article on this presentation, in this HOD Newsletter so that you are well-versed on the issues that will be discussed. Post meeting, an article will also be published via the digital version of the ABA Journal.

Drafting, Policies and Procedures Committee
This Committee, chaired by John Tarpley of Tennessee, with Jennifer Parent of New Hampshire as Vice-Chair, has done a great job assisting the Committee on Rules and Calendar in working with the various entities to finalize proposed reports with resolutions. As always, they are ready, willing and eager to assist in making sure that the resolutions that the House considers are in superb form.

Technology and Communications Committee
Chair Dan Schwartz of Connecticut, along with Vice Chair Lucian Perra of Tennessee and the rest of the Committee, have been very busy. You all have received a survey from this Committee, asking for your input concerning the House’s virtual meeting last August, as well as recommendations for improvements on what was really an extremely well-organized event. In addition, this Committee is bringing this newsletter to you, and is already planning its next newsletter, to include data on our House demographics, among other items of interest. The Committee continue its work to facilitate communications between House members, both during the meetings of the House and in between those meetings. They may have updates for you as we get closer to February 22nd.

Select Committee of the House
Chair Paula Frederick of Georgia, along with Vice Chair Harry Johnson of Maryland, and the Committee have prepared the template for the pre-meeting mailing from State Delegates to their constituents. They are also developing what will be our first virtual orientation of new members of the House. This is one program that may well keep its virtual format, even after the pandemic, so to free up new members of the House to attend other functions of interest.

Steering Committee of the Nominating Committee
This year, the Committee is focused on both the Candidates Forum, as well as what will be the first closed-door session of the Nominating Committee to provide the opportunity to ask questions and share information concerning candidates for the various offices. Chair Karol Corbin Walker of New Jersey, and Vice-Chair, Frank Neuner of Louisiana, have had numerous meetings with their Committee to continue to work out these details. This Committee is also proposing another clarification concerning the timing of when members of the Nominating Committee are authorized to publicly support a candidate for office. Credentials Committee Chair Lee Edmon of California and Vice-Chair Ritchey Hollenbaugh of Ohio are tasked this year with the five-year review of lawyer population and membership figures as it relates to representation in the House. Many of you have received notifications concerning those numbers as it relates to your particular bar association orsSection. More to come after the Midyear Meeting. Resolution and Impact Review The Honorable Leslie Miller of Arizona, Chair of this Committee, along with Christina Plum, Vice-Chair from Wisconsin, and their fellow Committee members, will present to the House at the Annual Meeting, resolutions that this House has approved and which have taken wings from ABA policy into actual implementation. I know they have spent hours reviewing those resolutions passed by the House over the last several sessions to determine which are the best to highlight for your consideration. I look forward to seeing those video presentations at our Annual Meeting. Finally, I want to give a nod to our Tellers Committee, Chaired by Graham Ryan from Louisiana, who, along with his members, get a pass again this time, given our virtual meeting and electronic voting. Thank you for your willingness to serve. Hopefully, we’ll have some work for you come August! You will also see at this meeting a new resolution from the Working Group on House Operations, Chaired by Past-President, Bob Carlson, who continues to work with his committee to bring to the House proposed resolutions to implement suggested changes to the manner in which the House operates based upon input received from all of you over the last several years. I am grateful for their continued work, as they had anticipated just a one-year commitment and are now in their second year.

I hope all of you continue to remain healthy and look forward to “seeing” you in just one month, as we move to our second virtual House of Delegates Meeting. Remember that there are many more events at the Midyear Meeting than just the sessions of the House itself, and I encourage you to participate. If you have not yet registered, please register immediately. See you soon!