Pennsylvania Bar Association
Board of Governors Action
Pursuant to the PBA Bylaws Section 402(a), below is a report of the action that was taken by the Board of Governors at its meeting on September 14, 2017. The PBA Family Law Section requested the Board of Governors to take action on this recommendation in lieu of the PBA House of Delegates as the House Judiciary Committee is moving forward on several initiatives with regard to grandparent’s rights and the rights of third parties with regard to children who are neglected or in need of caregivers. The Committee intends to move forward this fall, as earlier as September with this bill and possibly several others on related topics. The General Assembly is looking to the expertise of the PBA generally, and our family law and children’s rights attorneys’ specifically, to assist them in drafting legislation that is balanced, practitioner friendly, and constitutional. Accordingly, the Board determined to act in lieu of the House of Delegates due to the exigent circumstances because the next PBA House of Delegates meeting is not scheduled until November 17, 2017. The approved recommendation is attached.
The PBA Federal Practice Committee requested the Board of Governors to take action on this recommendation in lieu of the PBA House of Delegates; there is a judicial emergency in the Federal Courts of the Western District of Pennsylvania and need to act quickly to reaffirm the PBA’s position regarding judicial vacancies as Judge David S. Cercone has notified the President that he will assume senior status in November, 2017. As such, by the end of 2017, the Court will be operating with a 50% vacancy rate. Moreover, two of the five remaining active district judges are eligible to assume senior status and could do so at any time, potentially leaving the Court with only three or four active district judges.
The Board approved the recommendation of the Family Law Section that the Pennsylvania Bar Association supports House Bill 585, P.N. 636 of 2017, or similar legislation, if revised as outlined in their recommendation.
The Board unanimously approved the recommendation of the Federal Practice Committee that the President of the Pennsylvania Bar Association be authorized to urge the President of the United States, members of the United States Senate and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to take prompt action to fill the four existing vacancies and one additional forthcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
See attached documents: