I've been going to ABA annual conventions every few years since my parents took me as a little kid. It used to be that you couldn't get on an elevator at the hotel without stepping on a Supreme Court justice, an appellate court judge or a U.S. senator. Big important people gave big important speeches.
Now it's all nobodies. Every single panel discussion is on women and minorities.
That's not entirely fair. The ABA still has marquee speakers, but instead of prominent lawyers they're prominent criminals. After he was impeached and held in contempt by a federal court, the ABA invited Bill Clinton to speak. Also joining the list of celebrated felons was ex-con Webster Hubbell.
Maybe they could get O.J. for one of the minority panels next year. There's no one left to complain -- everyone serious has resigned.
The first wave of resignations came in 1987 when the ABA couldn't decide on Judge Bork's qualifications. The next major exodus came in 1992 when, on a break from peace demonstrations, the House of Delegates declared the ABA in favor of abortion on demand. For months, the resignations came in by the thousands.
After that, the ABA got loopier and loopier. One distinguished federal judge claims to join every few years just so he can resign in protest. Another said he was compelled to resign because the "impartiality of any judge who continues to belong to the ABA is subject to serious question."
For years now, the ABA has been issuing wild proclamations more appropriate to Sister Souljah than a professional association of lawyers. One former ABA president, George Bushnell, called the Republican leadership in Congress "reptilian bastards." (Why couldn't my judge have gotten that appellation?)
The esteemed president also called the Contract With America "an attack on the Constitution comparable to that of the invasion of our shores by foreign forces." You remember the Contract With America? It included pernicious ideas like a balanced budget amendment and tax incentives for adoption.
Two ABA presidents have viciously denounced a proposed flag-burning amendment. Instead of saluting the American flag, the ABA probably has a special session on how to burn it. One, Roberta Ramo, said the flag-burning amendment proved Congress "has lost sight of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as our nation's lodestar and our soul." The other -- Bushnell again - said Sen. Bob Dole's support for it had compromised his "decency as an individual."
Under the decency police at the ABA, former Weatherman, erstwhile member of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list, Manson-family-admiring Bernadine Dohrn was put in charge of the ABA's Litigation Task Force on Children. ("We are tremendously fortunate to have her," Bushnell said.)
But my judge is "qualified"? I demand a recount.