Welcome to the home page of the Committee on Civil Rights for the New York State Bar Association.
The term “civil rights” means many different things to many people. To some, the term evokes the epic struggle of the latter half of the 20th century for racial and gender equality, a struggle which still continues today. To others, it calls to mind the right of the individual to be free from arbitrary government restraint on one’s liberty and the exercise of freedoms held dear, such as the freedom of speech, assembly and religion. Still others see “civil rights” as covering the rights chiseled into local, state and federal laws preventing discrimination in housing, in school and at the workplace. “Civil rights” fall under a broad umbrella of due process and equal protection guarantees found in our Constitution and laws. The understanding of a “civil right” has evolved and continues to evolve with the forward progress of our national conversation in the American experiment.
The Committee on Civil Rights was founded in 1952 and over the years has worked on a broad range of issues affecting the public and legal profession in New York. The Committee has been active on issues of privacy and national security, Executive Detention and due process, the rights of immigrants, marriage equality, solitary confinement, discrimination in the workplace, and the links between Public Health and Environmental Laws to Civil Rights.
The Committee’s participation on these various fronts takes many forms, from blog posts about current issues, to sponsoring programs that spark informed debate, to authoring encyclopedic reports and obtaining passage of relevant resolutions by the NYSBA’s House of Delegates on signal issues of the day, to honoring those who have done the most in our community to bend the long arc of history toward justice. If you want to learn more about the Committee’s work in general, please click on the tabs on the left of this web page. If you would like to learn more about the Committee’s work on habeas corpus and Guantanamo in particular, access the Committee’s blog.
Today’s political climate – with the growing political divide in our own country, and authoritarian rule throughout the world, bringing with it increased violence and a change in laws and government policy – makes protecting civil rights absolutely vital. We endeavor to bring the latest news regarding civil rights to light and do our best to inform and advocate for everyone’s civil rights.
Thank you for visiting the Committee’s website and we hope that you find it informative and maybe even a little inspirational. Check back often for informative updates to the website and timely blog postings.
International Human Rights Organizations
Amnesty International’s purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. They investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.
5 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
P: (212) 807-8400
Human Rights First
Human Rights First protects people at risk: refugees who flee persecution, victims of crimes against humanity or other mass human rights violations, victims of discrimination, those whose rights are eroded in the name of national security, and human rights advocates who are targeted for defending the rights of others.
75 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
P: (212) 845-5200
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. They stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. They investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. They challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. They enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
P: (212) 290-4700
DISRUPTING IMPLICIT BIAS TO ADVANCE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: PRACTICAL STEPS TO COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF IMPLICIT BIAS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
Sponsored by the Committees on Civil Rights and Diversity & Inclusion
During NYSBA’s Annual Meeting January 2017 a CLE program was held that took an empirical look at implicit bias and bias interrupters in the legal profession.
Please click hereto access the coursebook for Disrupting Implicit Bias to Advance Diversity & Inclusion CLE Program.
Please note, only people that were able to attend the program in-person are eligible for CLE credit.
VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION: RESTRICTIONS, EXPANSION AND THE IMPACT ON THE 2016 ELECTIONS
Sponsored by NYCLA and the Committee on Civil Rights
In October our panel of experts discussed The Voting Rights Act of 1965, amendments to the law, key decisions interpreting the law and the impact on the disenfranchised. Special attention was paid to the recent state actions imposing limits or restrictions on voting rights, as well as some state actions that have actually made it easier for people to register to vote.
BAIL REFORM IN NEW YORK STATE: MOVING FORWARD
In April, the Committee on Civil Rights sponsored a MCLE Credit program (1.5 credits in professional practice) that examined current laws and addressed the issues regarding the need for reforming bail procedures in New York State courts.
Please click here to access the coursebook for the Bail Reform in New York State: Moving Forward CLE Program.
Please note, only people that were able to attend the program in-person are eligible for MCLE credit.
THE 2016 CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY SYMPOSIUM: THE IMPACT OF IMPLICIT BIAS ON LAWYERS AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION
The Committees on Civil Rights and Diversity & Inclusion sponsored this program during The New York State Bar Association’s 139th Annual Meeting. Whether you are a criminal defense attorney, judge, law school clinician, legal services attorney or the managing partner of a major law firm, implicit bias affects you every day. This program demonstrated implicit or unconscious bias so all lawyers understand how it impacts our work. A few specific views of bias in our profession were explored: Are law schools preparing lawyers who have awareness of the impact of bias? How can implicit bias affect setting bail or jury deliberations? When do we see implicit bias in the courtroom? How can we overcome the impact of bias in law firm employment determinations including promotion and partnership?