Equity, diversity concerns top ABA meeting agenda

Legal measures to achieve a more equitable U.S. justice system, celebrations of champions of diversity along with matters such as qualified immunity and gun control are chief among legal concerns that will be explored at the 2024 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Feb. 1-5.

The ABA House of Delegates — the association’s policy-making body — will meet in-person on the final day to debate and vote on a variety of policy issues.

Highlights  of the general meeting will include:


“Post-Pandemic Trends and Challenges in Housing and Eviction Cases” — Stakeholders – including Kentucky Supreme Court Justices Laurance VanMeter and Michelle Keller; Legal Services Corporation Board Chair John Levi; and representatives from Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Kentucky Access to Justice Commission and other advocacy groups – will trade lessons learned from the COVID-driven wave of home eviction cases, share their most effective responses and explain the necessary reforms to ensure tenants’ due process.


“Constitutional Policing: The Case for and against Qualified Immunity” — Experts will report the current state of qualified immunity and debate proposals to ensure the Constitutional rights of those who encounter the police. Can we protect law enforcement from frivolous legal action without eschewing the consequences of abuse of power?

“The Past and Future of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms” — Executive Director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law and other legal experts explore the Second Amendment’s interaction with various federal, state and local gun regulations – including laws restricting gun possession by domestic abusers, categorical bans on semiautomatic weapons and “sensitive places” laws – as well as trace the path of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence.

“Experts in Court: The Challenges for Science and Law” — Researchers share new findings on how scientific experts in court view the legal system and their challenges when working with the U.S. justice system. What can be done to resolve friction between scientists and the courts?

“Stephanie Stuckey” — The CEO of Stuckey’s Corporation, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1999-2013, shares lessons learned along her unique career path.


“CROWN Act Goes to Court” — Insiders share developments on fighting discrimination against African descendants’ natural hairstyles and discuss the commonplace injustice within historical, legal and transnational contexts, while also highlighting reforms that address race-based hair discrimination, including civil rights litigation, enforcement, policy and legislation popularly known as CROWN Acts.

• “Pathways to Equity: Navigating Racial Equality in the Aftermath of Students for Fair Admissions” — Stakeholders report the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision that eliminated race-based college-admissions practices. How can educational institutions now diversify their student ranks?

• “Trailblazers Advancing Diversity in Law” — The ABA recognizes four legal professionals with its 2024 Spirit of Excellence Award for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession: Capt. Benes Z. Aldana, Judge Dolly Gee, Sara Hill and Juan R. Thomas.

• “Firekeepers: Elevating the Voice of Native American Women Attorneys in the Profession” — Native American women lawyers share their experience in the profession using the new ABA study “Experiences of Native American Women Attorneys in the Profession” as a launch point.

• “Champions of LGBT+ Legal Causes” — Three longstanding activists will be honored by the ABA with its 11th annual Stonewall Award for advancing LGBT+ people in the legal profession and championing LGBT+ legal causes. Honorees are: Paula E. Boggs, former general counsel of Starbucks; Janice Grubin, partner at Barclay Damon LLP in New York; and Mark Johnson Roberts, former board co-chair of the National Lesbian & Gay Law Association (now the National LGBT Bar Association).