LGBT rights among local highlights at ABA meeting in San Diego

Implications of the California drought, anti-poverty best practices for San Diego, President Obama’s executive action on curbing gun violence and the conflict between religious freedoms and LGBT rights are chief among local legal issues that will be explored at the 2016 American Bar Association (ABA) Midyear Meeting Feb. 3-8 in San Diego.

Local and regional high-profile speakers at the meeting, including Drought Liaison Debbie Davis-Franco of the California Governor’s Office, Mike Feuer of the L.A.-based Prosecutors Against Gun Violence and Jennifer Pizer, a co-counsel in the legal challenge to California’s Prop. 8 and law and policy project director for Lambda Legal, will respectively discuss in various sessions California’s water scarcity, the recent executive action on gun violence and the conflict between religious beliefs and implementation of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision.

With several hundred top-quality legal programs and events, and presentations by the country’s foremost law experts and speakers, the ABA Midyear Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals.

The 560-member ABA House of Delegates—the association’s policy-making body—will meet Feb. 8, 9 a.m., in the Harbor Ballroom (Harbor Tower, 2nd level) of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. For details on the proposals for debate and vote during the one-day session, click here.

Local and regional interest news programs include:

Thursday, Feb. 4

“Water and the Drought” — With a growing population and severe drought, California faces a “new normal” of tight water resources. A panel of water law experts –– including Drought Liaison Debbie Davis-Franco of the California Governor’s Office and Associate Director Michael Kiparsky of U.C. Berkeley’s Wheeler Institute for Water Law–– will examine current water-management practices and plans for the future.
2:45-4:15 p.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt, 2nd Level, Harbor Tower, Harbor Ballroom C

Friday, Feb. 5

“Collaborate to Advocate: Lawyers and Communities Working to End Poverty” — San Diego advocates, legal aid providers, pro bono attorneys, social service providers and politicians will examine efforts to combat poverty in the city. Panelists will focus on best practices for removing legal and justice system-based barriers that create or perpetuate poverty—with an emphasis on vulnerable populations such as veterans, senior citizens and youth.
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Hilton San Diego, 2nd Floor, Indigo Ballroom C

The Corrosive Effects of Collateral Consequences— A panel of prosecutors, defense attorneys and other criminal justice professionals will discuss the more than 47,000 negative laws and legal restrictions imposed upon individuals convicted of crimes. California—with 1,818 collateral consequences—ranks as the state with the highest number of restrictions that bar former inmates from effectively re-entering society.
10-11:30 a.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt, 3rd Level, Seaport Tower, Hillcrest C/D

“The Gateway to Vulnerability: Youth Internet Use and Human Trafficking” — Attorney Ronnie Frant of San Diego’s CyberProtector Global will explore the relationship between the use of the Internet and technology by youth and the rise of human trafficking.
10:30-11:30 a.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt, 2nd Level, Seaport Tower, Seaport Ballroom H

Gun Violence: A Public Health Epidemic— In light of President Obama’s recent executive action to curb gun violence, constitutionalists and public health professionals – including Mike Feuer of the L.A.-based Prosecutors Against Gun Violence and constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky of U.C. Irvine – will the discuss the epidemiology of gun violence and the effects of gun laws, as well as debate the reach and restrictions of the Second Amendment.
1-3 p.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt, 3rd Level, Seaport Tower, Hillcrest C/D

“Legal Issues Surrounding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Middle School Youth” Gloria Cruz of the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego will be among panelists who will examine a variety of issues facing LGBT middle school youth, including gender-neutral restrooms, gender identity and family law issues, such as foster placements.
2:30-3:30 p.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt, 2nd Level, Seaport Tower, Seaport Ballroom C

“Stand Your Ground Task Force Presents ‘3½ Minutes: 10 Bullets’ – the Nuances of Stand Your Ground” — Stakeholders will discuss the recommendations included in the ABA’s recently released report on Stand Your Ground Laws after a brief viewing of the documentary film “3½ Minutes: 10 Bullets.”
3-5 p.m., Manchester Grand Hyatt, 2nd Level, Harbor Tower, Harbor Ballroom A

“The Intersection of Religious Freedom and LGBT Rights:  A Slow Motion Car Crash?” — Executive Director Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel and director of law and policy project for Lambda Legal, will be among panelists who will discuss implementation of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision and religious beliefs that may conflict with the Court order.
3:30-5 p.m., Hilton San Diego, 3rd Floor, Aqua Salon A/B

Saturday, Feb. 6

Eleventh Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement— This all-day conference will review national developments in indigent defense. In one program (2-3 p.m.), Brendon Woods, Alameda County public defender, moderates a discussion about “participatory defense,” a new methodology pioneered in California for families and communities to impact the outcome of cases of their loved ones and change the landscape of power in the courts.
8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m., Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 1155 Island Avenue

“Veterans Village of San Diego: Site Visit and Roundtable Discussion” — Legal experts will tour the Veterans Village of San Diego, an innovative organization nationally recognized for meeting the housing, legal and treatment needs of homeless veterans. A roundtable discussion will be held to discuss the legal needs of America’s homelessness veterans.
2-4 p.m., 4141 Pacific Highway