American Bar Association’s Law Day 2012 Focuses on Crisis in State Court Underfunding
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25, 2012 — A broad coalition of legal and civic leaders from across the political spectrum will join the American Bar Association on National Law Day to focus a powerful spotlight on the crisis in court funding. A press conference will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 1, at the Newseum in the Knight Conference Center, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. (Please use Freedom Forum Entrance on 6th St.) in Washington.
Theodore B. Olson, co-chair of the ABA’s Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, and Elaine R. Jones, president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., will join ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III and National Law Day Chair Mark D. Agrast to detail the threats posed by court funding cuts. Other participants who will give unique perspectives on the problem include Eric T. Washington, chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and president of the Conference of Chief Justices; executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Lisa A. Rickard; and chief executive officer of the American Association for Justice, Linda Lipsen.
“Courts simply must be open, available and adequately staffed to keep the wheels of justice turning,” said Robinson. “No one would accept the closing one day a week of their local emergency room, fire house or police station. Our courts are no different. They protect our rights and liberties.”
“Whatever their political and economic differences, the American people share a commitment to equal justice under law,” Agrast said. “It is only through courts that are open and accessible that our nation can live up to that ideal.”
The court funding crises is a top priority for the ABA and its Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System. Over the past two years, the groups have chronicled the twin challenge of declining budgets and increased work loads faced in state courts around the nation. The problem has hindered the courts’ ability to render access to justice for all Americans. It also has placed families and businesses in jeopardy as courtrooms have been forced to close, shorten their hours and lay off staff.
A broad array of leaders from other legal and civic organizations will be on hand and available for individual interviews after the formal press conference. A light breakfast will be served.
The National Law Day press conference is the culmination of several activities planned to focus attention on the Law Day 2012 theme, “No Courts. No Justice. No Freedom.”
For media credentialing, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at email@example.com or 202-662-1039. This event is free and open to members of the press.
Other ABA Law Day events include:
ABA Presidential Law Day Tour
ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III is visiting five states and participating in Law Day and other events to highlight the issue of court underfunding.
Wednesday, April 11, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Jacksonville, Fla.;
Jacksonville Bar Association Law Day
Tuesday, April 24, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Rochester, N.Y.;
Monroe County Bar Association Law Day
Monday, April 30, 9 – 11 a.m., Baltimore;
Maryland State Bar Association Law Day
Thursday, May 3, 9 – 10 a.m., Cincinnati;
Ohio State Bar Association Annual Convention
Wednesday, May 9, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Bowling Green, Ky.;
Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association Law Day
15th Annual ABA/Close-Up Foundation Teachers Luncheon
Monday, April 30, noon – 2 p.m., National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
The Close-Up Foundation is a nonprofit organization that educates and inspires young people to become informed and engaged citizens. The luncheon celebrates the work of teachers in educating young people about law and government and highlights the Law Day theme. This event is held in cooperation with the ABA Division for Public Education.
Featured speaker: Eric T. Washington, chief judge, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and current president of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States
Additional speakers: Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, ABA president, and Mark Agrast, chair, National Law Day
Presentation: The winner of the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Law Day video contest for high school students will be announced.
The 11th Annual Leon Jaworski Public Program
Tuesday, May 1, 5 – 7 p.m., Woodrow Wilson Center, Flom Auditorium, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.
Panelists will discuss the role of the law in American culture by focusing on “The Courts and Constitutional Democracy in America.” This event is sponsored by the ABA Division for Public Education and is open to the public.
Moderator: John Milewski, managing editor and host of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars radio and television program, “Dialogue”
Speakers: Justice Christine Durham, Utah Supreme Court; Mickey Edwards, vice president, The Aspen Institute and lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; Linda Greenhouse, senior research scholar in law and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, Yale Law School; Sherrilyn Ifill, professor of law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; and Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law, The George Washington University Law School
General Counsel Summit: Courts: Our States’ Economic Engines
Wednesday, May 2, 9 – 11:30 a.m., United States Chamber of Commerce, 1615 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
Panelists will discuss the 2012 Law Day theme, “No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom,” making a business case for the courts and the value of corporate engagement
Speakers: Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, president, American Bar Association; Theodore B. Olson, partner, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, and co-chair, ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System; Jean Toal, chief justice, South Carolina; Myron Steele, chief justice, Delaware; Tom Sager, DuPont Company; Boeing representative, The Boeing Company; Tom Gottschalk, Kirkland and Ellis LLP; Jon Mills, director, Center for Governmental Responsibility and Task Force reporter; Mary McQueen, president, National Center for State Courts and co-vice chair, ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System
For media credentialing, please contact Alexandra Buller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-662-1508. This event is free and open to members of the press.
About Law Day
Envisioned in 1957 by then-ABA President Charles S. Rhyne as a special national day to recognize the nation’s commitment to the rule of law, Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower the following year. Congress issued a joint resolution in 1961 designating May 1 as the official day for celebration.
While Law Day is officially recognized on May 1, many civic groups and bar associations celebrate with month-long programs, presentations and events.
Visit the ABA’s Law Day website at www.lawday.org for information about Law Day programs throughout the country.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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