The following letter was mailed to each Camp Commander in the Confederation regarding proposed Amendments to the Standing Orders of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Please review and share with your Camp members.
You can also find a link to the credentials forms for the Reunion at the following link.
May 10, 2012
The annual Reunion of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will soon be upon us, and I and the other members of the General Executive Council hope we will see you and members of your Camp there. This year we are meeting in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, July 11-14 and it promises to be a memorable Reunion.
Attached you will find two proposed amendments for the Standing Orders of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. These are being provided to your Camp per the requirements of Article 16 of the Constitution of the Sons of Confederate Veterans which requires that any proposed amendments to the Constitution or the Standing Orders be “sent to each Camp in good standing at least thirty (30) days and not more than ninety (90) days in advance to the address on record at General Headquarters”. Please share these amendments when the camp next meets so your camp can be prepared to vote on these amendments at Murfreesboro.
These proposed amendments to the Standing Orders, and the previously published amendments for the Constitution, can also be found on the scroll on the front page of scv.org, on the SCV Blog and have also been distributed via the Telegraph.
Adjutant In Chief
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE STANDING ORDERS
OF THE SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
FOR CONSIDERATON AT THE 2012 REUNION
PROPOSED STANDING ORDER AMENDMENT NO 1:
This amendment would add a section to Article 3 of the Standing Orders. This amendment is proposed by the General Executive Council. The new proposed section is:
3.6: Each Camp of the Confederation shall establish and maintain an official Camp email address with the General Headquarters of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. This email address may be used by General Headquarters, if directed by the General Executive Council, for sending the Camps official correspondence and notices.
Reasoning: If each Camp has an email address it will enable the Sons of Confederate Veterans to more easily communicate information to the Camps in a timely matter. While we currently have electronic distribution of information on the Telegraph, only a limited number of members (approximately 25%) are subscribed to this service. This amendment will allow for official distribution of required notices directly to the Camps by use of their unique email address. It is intended that email distribution of notices to the Camps will be purposefully limited to items such as official notices and information and important Heritage Defense information so as to keep the number of notices distributed to a low level. Given the advances in technology and communication it is imperative the Sons of Confederate Veterans adopt modern methods of communication in order to be effective in fulfilling our mission in the 21st Century.
PROPOSED STANDING ORDER AMENDMENT NO 2:
This amendment will replace the existing language of section 9.5 in its entirety with new language. This amendment is proposed by the National Disciplinary Committee.
The following is the existing language of section 9.5 of the Standing Orders:
9.5 No legal action against or on behalf of the general organization Sons of Confederate Veterans, its officers and/or members shall be undertaken or entered into by any member or group of members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in which that member or group of members proposes to act as (a) representative(s) or agent(s) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans without prior approval of the General Executive Council. If a proposed legal action is presented to the General Executive Council for approval, the petition shall be distributed in writing to all members of the Council prior to the filing of the same. The petition shall state the name(s) and address(es) of the party (parties) against whom the petition is proposed to be filed. The affirmative vote of the members of the Council shall be necessary for Council approval of such legal action. If any legal action is filed without the approval of the Council, the member(s) filing such action shall be subject to expulsion from the Sons of Confederate Veterans in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders which relate to expulsion of members.
Below is the proposed language which would replace the existing section 9.5 in its entirety:
9.5 No member, group of members, camp, division or any other subdivision of the Sons of Confederate Veterans may initiate any civil litigation wherein they act, or attempt to act, with standing and name (directly or indirectly) any member (in their capacity as member or officer of the Sons of Confederate Veterans), any subdivision or the Sons of Confederate Veterans as a whole as defendant or plaintiff without the prior express consent of the General Executive Council (GEC). The same shall apply to naming any member (in his capacity as a member of officer of the Sons of Confederate Veterans), subdivision or the Sons of Confederate Veterans as a whole as a third party in an already initiated civil litigation.
Petition for said approval shall be distributed in writing to all members of the GEC, stating the name(s) and address(es) of all parties in the proposed litigation, and a brief description of the nature and necessity of the proposed litigation. All reasonable administrative remedies (petitions, motions, hearings etc. before camp/division executive councils, division conventions, etc.) available shall be attempted by petitioner(s) prior to submitting such petition to the GEC, or the GEC may refuse consideration of the petition. A majority vote of the GEC shall be required for approval of the petition.
The GEC shall not delay consideration (other than for failure to attempt all available administrative remedies) on the petition to the point it would jeopardize the proposed litigation (such as past filing deadlines), and no later than the next regular meeting of the GEC. Failure to abide by this section is a serious offense and subject to discipline, including expulsion, in accordance with the Constitution and Standing Orders.
Reasoning: This section of the Standing Orders results in more disciplinary cases (and more acrimonious ones) than any other section. Because of its nature (a prohibition on civil lawsuits) this section is subject to more technical attacks and arguments by those accused of violating it, and misunderstandings by many members beyond those accused, than any other section. As a result, the Disciplinary Committee has attempted to both strengthen and clarify the language.
For example, accused members have attempted to claim the “general” organization is only the national organization, and that their suit wasn’t “against or on behalf” of the organization because they were suing a single officer. This invokes the legal concept (theory) of “standing” without using the word, so the language here has been changed to reflect in more precise legal language what exactly is being prohibited.
Further, in the old language “no legal action” could be interpreted broadly. For example if a camp filing a police report when something is stolen considered a “legal action”, or is someone who is arrested for displaying a Battle Flag at a convention hotel and offers a legal defense in the case taking “legal action”? So again, the more precise “initiate any civil litigation” is used in the proposed wording.
The proposed language also emphasizes the common legal requirement of “exhausting administrative remedies”. This means that a member or group of members do not go straight from a disagreement to a lawsuit, but they must attempt all other remedies, such as making a motion at their division convention. Courts routinely dismiss cases which have not attempted all administrative remedies.
Finally, language preventing the GEC from withholding consideration on a petition is added as a safeguard. Finding language which contemplates all possible circumstances which might invoke section 9.5 is difficult, but the Disciplinary Committee feels these revisions help in many circumstances.
Officers and members need to keep in mind that both the existing and proposed language is broad, and would include lawsuits initiated by camps or divisions in circumstances such as suits over car tags, etc. If a camp or division is going to initiate a suit, the procedures in 9.5 must be observed.