URGING RETROACTIVE APPLICATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1991

WHEREAS, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was signed into law by President Bush on November 21, 1991, after it was passed by an overwhelming majority of Congress;

WHEREAS, the purpose of the Act was to reinstate protections eliminated by the Supreme Court in July 1989, and to add the procedural right to compensatory and punitive damages and a right to a jury trial for certain victims of civil rights violations;

WHEREAS, the plain language of the Act, as well as established principles of statutory construction mandate that the Act applies to all currently pending cases and pre-Act conduct;

WHEREAS, the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a federal agency charged with the responsibility of reviewing legal developments on civil rights as well as appraising federal laws and policies involving discrimination or the denial of equal protection, has concluded that the language of the 1991 Act, taken as a whole, demonstrates that Congress intended the compensatory and punitive damages provisions to apply to pre-Act conduct and to pending cases;

WHEREAS, courts throughout the nation have addressed the important legal issue of whether the Act applies to pending cases and pre-Act conduct and their holdings have conflicted greatly;

WHEREAS, the determination by Federal Courts in the Third Circuit of the applicability of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 to pending cases filed before November 21, 1991 and pre-Act conduct will potentially affect the rights of thousands of persons who have filed civil rights actions and will result in the courts expending substantial energies interpreting now superseded law and exploring moot legal questions;

WHEREAS, the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association in May 1991 resolved to support passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and to take all reasonable steps to urge its passage;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association join as an amicus in support of the position that the Civil Rights Act of 1991 applies to all civil rights actions which were pending as of November 21, 1991, when the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was signed into law.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: June 25, 1992