Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association Charter Amendments Act (H.R. 4100). The House approved this bill by voice vote.
Chairman Goodlatte: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The mission of the Federal Bar Association (FBA) “is to strengthen the federal legal system and administration of justice by serving the interests and the needs of the federal practitioner, both public and private, the federal judiciary and the public they serve.”
The Federal Bar Association’s membership includes more than 18,000 federal lawyers, including 1,500 federal judges, who, as the Association states, “work together to promote the sound administration of justice and integrity, quality and independence of the judiciary.”
The FBA received a federal charter in 1954. Steve Chabot has introduced H.R. 4100, the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association Charter Amendments Act. The Foundation wrote to the Judiciary Committee stating that:
[We] wholeheartedly endorse H.R. 4100, [which] would provide for technical changes to the federal charter of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association . . . . The technical amendments embodied in H.R. 4100 will provide reasonable and necessary flexibility to the Foundation to assist in the governance and management of the Foundation’s affairs. Under the legislation, the mission of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association will remain unchanged in the promotion and support of legal research and education concerning the federal administration of justice, the advancement of the science of jurisprudence, and the fostering of improvements in the practice of federal law. … Since 1954, and especially over the past two decades, the Foundation has devoted significant effort toward the enlargement of its educational and charitable programs, including the creation of a Fellows program, support of academic and legal scholarship, creation of donor advised funds, establishment of assistance funds for the victims of terrorism and natural disasters, creation of scholarship programs for law students and the children of federal attorneys [and] grant assistance for Federal Bar Association chapters conducting pro bono and other community service projects . . . These wide-ranging efforts have been successful, but also have exposed the limitations of the Foundation’s 1954 charter, particularly with respect to eligibility for membership [and] governance of the Foundation . . . . The technical corrections . . . would address these concerns and provide greater flexibility to the Foundation in a fashion similar to the authority and privileges enjoyed by other . . . organizations federally chartered by Congress . . .
The bill, among other things, allows the Foundation to have its principle office outside of the District of Columbia, gives its Board of Directors more leeway in meeting its responsibilities, and adds a nondiscrimination clause. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 4100.