Statement Re: The Signing of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
December 23, 2003 — The American Bar Association applauds President Bush’s signing into law the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the amended version of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act. The ABA has long supported these amendments to the act to further protect the rights of our U.S. servicemembers by providing much-needed clarification and modernization of the SSCRA.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act grants protections to servicemembers’ rights and property interests while they serve our country, by temporarily suspending or postponing civil proceedings that might prejudice those rights. It is important, because it ensures that a call to duty does not unfairly place servicemembers or their families at a disadvantage in handling matters routine to daily family life. Among its many safeguards, the act raises the rent limit below which a servicemember or dependents cannot be evicted from their home; protects those who are business owners, especially men and women in our National Guard; allows servicemembers to terminate leases on real or personal property, including automobiles, upon orders to move; and will allow them to re-enroll in institutions of higher education upon their return, allowing them to complete interrupted studies.
The act gives the men and women of our military additional peace of mind, by protecting their rights and interests when they answer the call to duty. More so than words of praise or promise, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act demonstrates to our soldiers, sailors and their families that our nation values their sacrifice and is behind them, absolutely.