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Attorney John Hansen and retired lawyer Doris Walker have something in common. The two San Franciscans think the Bush administration has gone too far in the war on terror and that it’s time California lawyers send a message that enough’s enough. “We’re doing whatever we can to get the current administration to change its policies and live within the law,” Hansen, a Nossaman Guthner Knox & Elliott partner, said last week. “The war in Iraq represents in a lot of ways a violation of various laws, and isn’t consistent with the system of justice we try to live by in this country.” Walker, who retired last year, put it another way: “This administration is tearing the Constitution to pieces.” Hansen and Walker hope to win support for their arguments this weekend when they take five anti-Bush resolutions before the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations, an independent group of 450 to 500 attorneys who gather during the State Bar’s annual meeting to address issues of state and national importance. The conference is scheduled to meet Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. Delegates are expected to take up more than 100 resolutions, some of which might be pursued as legislation or forwarded to the American Bar Association for discussion on a national stage. A majority of the resolutions aren’t likely to rile up anybody, as they concern the nuts and bolts of legal practice, like making changes to statutory codes or revising rules of court. But about two dozen of them � including Hansen’s and Walker’s � should stir up hot debate. Among the resolutions are proposals to eliminate term limits for state legislators, prohibit compensation for collecting signatures for ballot initiatives, give adults adopted as children easier access to their birth records, place a moratorium on the state’s death penalty, and provide condoms for inmates. “We cover the gamut,” conference Chairwoman Linda Mazur, an attorney in Valley Village, said last week. “Most every lawyer who participates in this thinks it’s good to talk about these issues,” she added, “and see if we can come to some consensus about them.” Delegates come from all fields of practice and represent solos, small firms and big firms. There are government lawyers, corporate counsel and, of course, Democrats, Republicans and members of just about every other political party under the sun. It’s a good bet that Hansen’s and Walker’s resolutions will generate the most heat, especially one month before national midterm elections when Iraq and terrorism dominate the headlines. Hansen, who came of age during the Vietnam conflict, has introduced resolutions calling for a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, a clarification of the president’s powers to detain enemy combatants, and restrictions on his authority to call up reservists. Walker, an 87-year-old who became an attorney during World War II, filed resolutions calling for investigations into the government’s secret surveillance program and the administration’s reasons for going to war. Hansen is a delegate from the Bar Association of San Francisco, and Walker represents the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild � two groups that routinely file the most liberal resolutions. They’re sure to get a fight from conservatives. In fact, the Orange County Bar Association delegation, possibly the most conservative group at the conference, has already opposed Hansen’s and Walker’s resolutions, calling them “political in nature.” “We didn’t find them to be within the purview of the Conference of Delegates,” Julie McCoy, president of the Orange County Bar Association, said last week. “There are specific rules that govern what is germane and what is not. I mean, a number of them don’t even propose any particular legislation, either state or federal.” Hansen’s ready for a showdown. His strongest words are for Bush and the Iraq war itself, which he claims has been deemed worthwhile no matter the costs in lives and money. “That is like a lawyer encouraging a client to engage in endless litigation without ever attempting to compare the cost of the litigation to the benefit to be derived from it,” he wrote in his anti-war resolution. “Only a fool would accept such advice, and it appears we are either a nation of fools or being led by fools.” Walker stirred the pot more by arguing last week that President Bush is trying to upend the Constitution. “There are supposed to be checks and balances in the three branches of government,” she said, “and the executive branch is making a strong effort to assert that all power basically and ultimately resides in the executive branch.” Left-leaning resolutions do quite well at the conference, with liberals often outnumbering conservatives. In the last two years, delegates have approved resolutions calling for investigations into Bush administration policies and for abolishing the Electoral College � the latter a reaction to Bush’s controversial 2000 victory over Democrat Al Gore. Getting approved resolutions before the state Legislature or some higher body, however, is more difficult. Mazur, the conference’s chairwoman, said that while dozens of resolutions pass muster on the conference floor, only about 10 to 15 of them “tend to get implemented” each year. “Our lobbyist sort of takes the entire package of resolutions that are approved at the conference,” she said, “and helps us decide which ones have a reasonable shot.”

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