If you are a law student, lawyer, or have any association with lawyers, you have likely heard of the American Bar Association (ABA). The ABA has a great deal of influence in the legal profession, politics, the corporate world, and beyond. Recently, the ABA made headlines after a judicial nominee cried to the Senate during his Senate Committee hearing. This was, in part, due to the ABA’s influence. An ABA evaluator sent a scathing letter to the committee, putting into question the nominee’s character. This letter came under attack by Republicans for its alleged biased and untruthful nature. Despite the dividing nature of the letter, the ABA’s impact is undeniable.
Arizona and Idaho are the most recent in a long line of states declining to adopt the American Bar Association’s (ABA) new Model Rule 8.4(g), which is being called the “anti-discrimination” rule. This rule was adopted by the ABA to specifically address harassment and discrimination based on race, religion, sex, disability, and LGBTQ status in all conduct related to the practice of law. However, because of the broad construction and application of the rule, many states and attorneys have concerns that compliance with this anti-discrimination rule will infringe on their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion.