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Afternoon Briefs: ABA president comments on Law Day rule-of-law theme; virtual grand juries upheld

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ABA president notes significance of Law Day theme

ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said this year’s Law Day theme—“Advancing the Rule of Law Now”—is particularly significant considering last year’s events. “The rule of law means no one is above the law, and no one is beneath it,” she said in a statement. “We have made progress as a nation in areas of equity but there is so much work still to do. The rule of law provides us with a framework to improve.” In connection with the May 1 event, the ABA has released a survey finding that Black respondents and young people are less likely to agree that the U.S. judicial system “adheres to the rule of law, under which all individuals are treated equally in the eyes of the law.” (ABA press release)

Top New Jersey court upholds virtual grand jury proceedings

The New Jersey Supreme Court has held that virtual grand jury proceedings do not violate the state constitutional right to an indictment by a grand jury. “The Constitution must operate not just in the best of times but also in the worst of times,” the court said in its April 28 opinion. “This court has utilized technology to preserve, not to undermine, the constitutional right of defendants to a grand jury presentation.” (Courthouse News Service, the Associated Press, Bloomberg Law, the New Jersey Supreme Court decision via the Legal Profession Blog)

FISA court allows another year of warrantless surveillance

In a November ruling made public Monday, the presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowed a warrantless surveillance program operated by the National Security Agency to continue for another year. Presiding Judge James Boasberg recertified the program, which allows warrantless surveillance of foreign targets in terrorism and espionage investigations, despite noting several instances in which the FBI improperly searched American’s emails collected in the program. (The New York Times)

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