TO SUPPORT RESOLUTIONS IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ESTABLISH A LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON RACIAL AND GENDER BIAS IN THE COURT SYSTEM

WHEREAS, bias and the perception of bias create an impediment to the fair and efficient functioning of our legal system;
 
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has for many years engaged in and supported efforts to promote fairness in the legal system;
 
WHEREAS, in 1999, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania established a Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System to help in maintaining a fair and impartial system of justice for all Pennsylvanians;
 
WHEREAS, on March 3, 2003, the Supreme Court's Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System presented its final report to the Supreme Court in which it found that racial and gender bias exist within the court system and must be remedied;
 
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court's Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System made recommendations for the Supreme Court and local courts, the Governor, the legislature, and state and local bar associations in the effort to eliminate racial and gender bias from the courts;
 
WHEREAS, on March 25, 2003, the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors unanimously passed a resolution "commending the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System for its extraordinary efforts, insightful findings and report recommendations and authorized the Chancellor to take the appropriate steps to encourage further consideration of the issues addressed in the report";
 
WHEREAS, House Resolution 402 has been introduced in the Pennsylvania State House to establish a legislative advisory committee that would draw on specific recommendations to write legislation aimed at eliminating bias in Pennsylvania's justice system;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Governors supports House Resolution 402 and authorizes the Chancellor, or her designees, to take all necessary steps, including contacting the appropriate members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly regarding the Association's support for this or similar legislation.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: SEPTEMBER 25, 2003