Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised.
This is the main reason that I am no longer a member of the ABA, which has become more political and partisan with each passing year. I have often presented ethics courses for ABA sections in the past, and will probably do so in the future. But the legal profession is one of many that has lost its ethical bearings of late, and the resolution its largest and most prestigious association will consider this week (the ABA’s annual convention begins today) is proof.
Here is the resolution (emphasis mine):
RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges legislatures and courts to define consent in sexual assault cases as the assent of a person who is competent to give consent to engage in a specific act of sexual penetration, oral sex, or sexual contact, to provide that consent is expressed by words or action in the context of all the circumstances, and to reject any requirement that sexual assault victims have a legal burden of verbal or physical resistance.
This is essentially the same standard that the Obama administration forced upon colleges and universities with its infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, resulting in many male students being persecuted, punished, suspended, or expelled without due process, based on an institutionalized bias in favor of female accusers.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers effectively expressed how sinister the resolution is in a statement issued on July 25, stating in part,
The criminal defense lawyer association notes elsewhere in its letter that this definition would necessarily undermine the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, since “[t]he resolution will often force the defendant to testify in order to present evidence that consent was expressed.”
The NACDL also points out that the American Law Institute proposed revising its l Model Penal Code to include an affirmative consent standard. The ALI’s membership rejected that proposal, as it should have, and did so decisively.
The ABA membership is more politically diverse—and principled—that the official posturings of the association itself suggests. I suspect, and hope, that this abomination of a resolution, which would be a disgrace for any legal organization to endorse, will fail. The fact that such a resolution would even make it to the voting stage is one more ominous piece of evidence that the progressive forces seeking to weaken the Bill of Rights are infiltrating all of our professions and institutions.