Important Letter from MSBA President Albert G. Ayre
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Dear MSBA Member:
The Maine State Bar Association (MSBA) is a non-profit, voluntary association of Maine lawyers. Our members are in every county of the state and include active and retired attorneys, members of large and small firms as well as sole practitioners, federal and state judges, law school faculty and students, corporate in-house attorneys, and governmental attorneys. Our members' political beliefs span the entire spectrum.
The MSBA recently celebrated its 125th anniversary proudly serving Maine attorneys and, as our charter provides, continuing to support "the public interest in a fair and effective system of justice." This isn't just an idle statement. As early as 1925 Justice Albert M. Spear, one of the original incorporators of the MSBA, noted that "the Association has done much to promote...the conception of law as a system of justice rather than a code of technicalities." True justice for all requires vigilance and a willingness to act to promote justice. Maine attorneys have always taken this obligation seriously.
Within this overall context, the MSBA is occasionally asked to take a public position-make a public statement-on various social issues. While we often take positions before the Maine Legislature on legislation affecting attorneys, the courts, and the practice of law, we have not been vocal on various social issues--primarily because our members' views are so varied and we do not take so-called political positions. Indeed some of our members (judges and governmental employees) might have to leave the MSBA if we did become more political. However, in cases of compelling issues of justice and liberty, whether in the form of pronouncements by governmental officials or the voices and actions of private citizens, our membership will not remain silent. Indeed, all of us--as individual members and as an association--must stand up and be counted.
Let me therefore state unequivocally that the Maine State Bar Association does not and will not accept or condone any form of bigotry or race discrimination, including racial stereotyping and racial profiling. As the American Bar Association has so clearly stated:
"Our nation thrives when all, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, are treated with respect and afforded the rights and dignity guaranteed by our Constitution. An inclusive society makes us all stronger."
Maine attorneys will continue their efforts to promote "a fair and effective system of justice."
Albert G. Ayre, President
Maine State Bar Association