Border security, immigration, police in communities of color to be among highlights at ABA meeting

U.S. border protection from terrorism, post-Obama immigration policies, the impact of implicit bias, and the tensions between law enforcement and communities of color are chief among diversity and immigration issues that will be explored at the 2016 American Bar Association Annual Meeting Aug. 4-9 in San Francisco.

High-profile speakers at the meeting include FBI Director James Comey on emerging issues in national security and law enforcement (Aug. 5, 4 p.m.), Hollywood writers Jonathan Shapiro and David E. Kelley (both of “The Practice,” “Boston Legal” and other iconic legal TV) on pop culture and the perception of justice (Aug. 5, 10:30 a.m.) and O. J. Simpson prosecutor-turned-novelist Marcia Clark on her high-profile cases and writing career (Aug. 5, 5:30 p.m.). Also, U. S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., will examine voter and election laws (Aug. 6, 2 p.m.). And, several diversity experts, including Thomas Andrew Saenz, president of MALDEF, and Thomas Alexander Aleinkoff, former U.N. high commissioner for refugees, will discuss immigration issues on separate panels.
In addition to the more than 1,400 events at this premier gathering of legal professionals, the ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policymaking body — will meet at 9 a.m. on Aug. 8-9 at the Moscone Center Second Floor Ballroom. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the two-day session, click here.
Diversity and immigration programs include:

Thursday, Aug. 4

“U.S. Border Wars: Preventing Terrorism and Protecting Children” — Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Court will be among panelists who will explore what our nation is doing to provide border security and protection in the homeland. Discussion will include the investigation and arrest of suspected terrorists, screening visitors who come across our borders, tracking visa over-stays, maintaining no-fly and criminal record databases and the temporary care of vulnerable populations such as children.
“Women’s Rights: Lessons from Bay Area Women Who Made History” — A who’s who of feminist leaders from San Francisco will share their stories of achieving success following the second wave of the women’s rights movement  in the 1960s and 1970s. Moderator: Lindsay D. Breedlove, Pepper Hamilton Law LLP, Philadelphia.

“Getting It Right the Next Time:  What the Judicial Response to Japanese American Incarceration Can Teach Us About Providing Fair and Impartial Courts to Immigrants and Minority Groups in the Current Political Environment” — Panelists – including California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu and Northern California District Court Judge Marilyn Patel (ret.) – will discuss the political environment faced by immigrant and minority groups today, from calls for a border wall, to hate crimes aimed at members of those groups. San Francisco attorney Dale Minami will also use his landmark 1980s case on Japanese internment to examine the lessons that can be drawn from the judicial response to Asian-American internment.

“The Housing Crunch in Desirable Cities: Planning Alternatives and Legal Consequences” — Panelists, including a Bay Area real estate lawyer and representative of San Francisco Rapid Transit – will discuss the techniques and tools for increasing housing density in crowded, highly desirable U.S. cities.

Friday, Aug. 5

“When School is Your Home: Why Educating A Million Homeless Students Is A Civil Rights Battle” — Nationally recognized experts and local experts from the Bay area will examine best practices for educating at-risk and homeless youth; federal interventions such as the Every Student Succeeds Acts of 2015; and how this issue intersects with other civil rights issues related to racism, housing and poverty.

“Pay Equity: Latest Developments and Best Practices” — A panel will examine the pay differences between genders, measures to eliminate the disparity and the responsibilities of government, employers and society as a whole in addressing the issue.

“A Dynamic “Trans”-ition: A Path Forward on the Recognition of Transgender Rights, Employment Equality, and Integration of Transgender Troops Into the US Military” — Experts on transgender rights and military representatives will discuss litigation related to transgender employment matters and the unique challenges of the Department of Defense integration of transgender uniformed service members into the U.S. military.

“Creating a Conscious Prosecutor: The Client Pre-Indictment” — Experts will discuss the issue of implicit bias in prosecution, examine the dangers, discuss tools and solutions, as well as unveil “The Conscious Prosecutor" Program sponsored by the ABA in conjunction with the National Black Prosecutors Association and the National District Attorneys Association. It will be the first program of its kind to address the issue of implicit bias directly nationwide

“Civil Labor Enforcement, Private Claims and Supple Chain Accountability: What You Can Do To Help Fight Human Trafficking” — Experts will discuss the role of civil labor enforcement agencies in addressing worker vulnerabilities and employer violations of human trafficking laws and the role of civil litigation in bringing compensation and dignity to victims. Topics will include the California Foreign Labor Recruiters Regulation law and new guidance from the California attorney general on the California Supply Chains Transparency Act.

“Implicit Bias and De-Biasing Strategies: A Workshop for Judges and Lawyers” — Judge Bernice Donald, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Gary Randall, Nebraska Fourth District Court; and Federal Public Defender Rene L Valladares, District of Nevada, will host an interactive session to help attendees develop techniques and strategies to mitigate for implicit bias.

“Controversy Delays Progress: Prospects for Immigration Initiatives in the Next Administration” — Implementation of President Obama's immigration policy has been delayed as contentious issues are battled out in Congress and blocked by the courts. Experts – including Thomas Andrew Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund in Los Angeles – will examine the controversy and the potential impact of a new president who may reverse many of the programs and policies of the current administration.

Saturday, Aug. 6

“Refugee Crisis:  Challenges in Europe and at the U.S. Border” — Immigration experts, including Thomas Alexander Aleinikoff, former United Nations high commissioner for refugees in Geneva, will look at issues related to the surge of refugees from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, the U.S. response to the mass migration, and the immigration crisis at the U.S. southwest border, where more than 120,000 children have fled the violence and abuse in their home countries.

“Fortune 500 General Counsel Share the 3Cs of Diversity and Inclusion: Commitment, Candor and Collaboration” — Top general counsel for some of the nation’s leading companies and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer will discuss ways that corporate America can move the needle on diversity and inclusion within their ranks.

“Post-Shelby Voter and Election Laws: Necessary Measures to Prevent Voter Fraud, the Result of Budgetary Limitations or a Denial of Access to Justice?” — Panelists – including North Carolina Rep. Paul Stam, President Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama – will examine whether voter laws following the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder have a disparate impact on minorities’ access to voting or are necessary measures to prevent voter fraud and preserve state budgets.

Sunday, Aug. 7

“How the Militarization of Law Enforcement Has Affected Peace Officers and the Communities They Serve” — Representatives from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, the Coalition for Police Accountability and the NAACP's Ethics Project will be among panelists who will discuss the increasing militarization of law enforcement, which has led to frequent confrontations that escalate to lethal force, particularly in communities of color, and consider forward-thinking proposals to address the problems.

“26th Annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Luncheon” — This awards luncheon recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers. The award is named for the first woman lawyer in America. Honorees are: Ginger Ehn Lew, managing director and general counsel, Cube Hydro Partners LLC, Bethesda, Md.; Roberta D. Liebenberg, senior partner, Fine, Kaplan and Black, R.P.C., Philadelphia; Nancy E. O’Malley, district attorney, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Oakland, Calif.; Judith W. Rogers, circuit judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D.C.; and Judith A. Scott, general counsel, Service Employees International Union and senior partner at James & Hoffman, PC, Washington, D.C.


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