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Special Conference at Saratoga The second conference of representatives of local bar associations will be held in connection with the American Bar Association at Saratoga Springs on Monday, Sept. 3. There will be three sessions of the Conference, at 10 a. m., 2 p. m., and 8 p. m. Three delegates from each state bar association and two from each local bar association will be invited to attend. The full programme will appear in the American Bar Association Journal for Julv.
The Conference of last year brought out intensely interesting discussions of the need and opportunity for linking up the A. B. A. and the state and local bodies. Fifty-four associations were represented.
The Conference approved two amendments to the constitution which were submitted by the Executive Committee. One authorizes the Executive Committee "to submit from time to time by referendum to the individual members of the Association questions affecting the substance
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of the administration of the law, which in the opinion of the Committee are of immediate practical importance to the whole country, and they shall order such a referendum whenever directed by the General Council of the Association. The Executive Committee may arrange with state and local associations for the extension of such referendum system to the members of such associations.
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"The president of each State Bar Association recognized by this Association which accepts this provision shall become. a member ex-officio of the General Council, provided he be a member of the American Bar Association, and provided further that votes in the General Council be by states whenever a roll call is asked."
The Conference also recommended the following amendment:
"On and after January 1, 1918, every applicant for membership in the American Bar Association shall be a member of
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the recognized State Bar Association of his state, if any exists; provided that this requirement shall not apply to a person who has been for twenty years a member of the bar at that time."
This proposal was rejected by the Association on an adverse report from the Executive Committee.
The discussion, printed in the A. B. A. Report for 1916, page 588, is decidedly interesting. President Elihu Root took the lead in pointing to the obvious need for integrating the numerous associations of the bar. Mr. George T. Page of Illinois, a member of the General Council, gave pointed expression to the need for stimulating local associations by giving them a real interest in and responsibility for the work of the national body.
The amendments made considerable progress and more may be expected. It seems hard to understand why membership in the A. B. A. should not depend
upon prior membership in a state association. In some states the lists are almost identical, while in others only five or ten per cent of the A. B. A. members even pay dues to the local association.
Identical membership throughout is an ideal to be looked forward to. It will triple the membership of the A. B. A. and will imply a practical scheme of representation. Representative government as an abstract idea is lauded at every meeting of the American Bar Association, but representative government of the bar as a concrete solution of present difficulties arising from the large membership of the A. B. A. and the small number who can attend and participate in its management is avoided. Some time the man back home will be given representation. In an association extending over a continental area, pure democracy as a means of government is conspicuously unfair.
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