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Republicans Look To Kill Legal Aid

Republicans Look To Kill Legal Aid

 

As the economy continues to slide and the working poor struggle to hold on to what precious public and private benefits they still have left, legal services corporations are swollen with clients seeking help. It makes sense then that Republicans want to defund them.

Legal services corporations operate as private, nonprofit corporations that promote equal access to justice and provides grants for civil legal assistance to low income Americans. LSC distributes about 95 percent of its total funding to 136 independent nonprofit legal aid programs.

LSC attorneys are limited in the types of cases they are allowed to take. LSC programs assist victims of domestic violence, help establish guardianships for children without parents, help resolve landlord-tenant disputes, evictions, provide foreclosure assistance and bankruptcy assistance. LSC attorneys can also help secure disability benefits for those qualified.

The clients served by LSC-funded programs are at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level threshold, currently set at $27,563 for a family of four.

The expenses associated with defending one’s rights are well-documented and one look at the foreclosure fraud mess should tell you that predators assume the vulnerable will have no one to help them navigate the sticky and complicated legal terrains. In fact, their crimes depend on it.

But LSC attorneys work long hours, for next to no pay, to help those who are already systematically disadvantaged in our society. They help poor women, children and the disabled who are simply trying to get by on a day-to-day basis. And for Republicans, that there is the problem.

I am a former LSC attorney. During that time this country was not in the grips of a recession and my clients were not the carnage left behind by a greedy and unscrupulous private sector intent on squeezing the life out of the housing sector. Ten years ago our offices were overwhelmed with clients seeking help getting their disability benefits and finding a safe place to live for their children. We literally kept families off the street and out of crimes of desperation. For those who could not take care of themselves, we helped ensure their basic needs were met. Those goals were modest in the face of the challenges of our clients, but they were something.

For Republicans to now seek to eradicate a program instituted during the Nixon administration is simply disgusting. It’s one thing to look out for the interests of wealthy campaign donors. It is another thing entirely to aggressively and without conscience attack those in this country most at need by taking away the only avenue for advocacy they have left.

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Photo from WageIndicator-Pauline Olson via flickr.

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90 comments

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7:58PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Repugs want to kill everything that is not to their liking.

12:50AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:00PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

I was expecting this and a few more things from the repugs. This one is just not negotiable. To many people just cannot afford a lawyer its a shame it wasn't written into the constitution as a right.

1:08PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

If the country doesn't go Democrat in 2012, I might seriously give up.

7:07PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Let us hope and pray that these horrible, desperate grasps at re-creating the early industrial era (before there were citizen protections and safety programs), is a last gasp by a dying breed.

The true people of the world, the ones who lift their eyes from the microcosm of their own lives to see the macrocosm and how everything we have and are doing, has and is effecting this home of ours, and want it changed... are waking from a "Matrix" dream into a nightmare created by robber barons and soul-less misanthropes.

Many of them claim to be Christian, but if they truly understood, they'd realize Jesus was a socialist, or at the very least, Liberal.

The dinosaurs of the industrial age are going extinct, we can only hope these heinous attempts to eradicate 98% of the populations civil rights, is a last gasping breath as impotent as many of them have proven to be.

10:44AM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

great article but ,...do your reasurch peeps, and get your numbers right. 125% of poverty income is actually 27,937 for a family of four, not a huge difference but when your facts are wrong you look like a bunch of hacks.

10:21PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Another program that the elite want to deny the 98+% who were not awarded the privilege of being born into a filthy rich and morally depraved family.

And of course war spending will continue to grow as the corrupt right wingers continue to lie that they are protecting America and her people.

What a crock. Do they really believe that people are so stupid to believe that our soldiers are protecting us, fighting for our freedoms?while ours are being destroyed by the GOP goon squad and showing the rest of the world how great America is and all the while trying to force our views and lifestyles onto people in other countries and that is why we are fighting all those wars, which is actually closer to 8 rather than the 3-5 we are told about. Why are we in other countr5ies to assure that their people have "honest" elections when our own Repugs, T.P.ers and GOPers do everything to cheat they way into political office. What hypocrites we are in the eyes of the world.

Why would a government defend a disintegrating and dying country ? They wouldn't. That is what America is today. We watch and see the inaction by the elected representatives, who only cater to their bribers (the top 1.5 % and corps) all the while they steal our rights away and lower the standard for all of us who were not so lucky to have been born into the Bush's, Ronmey's or any other ultra rich political family.

Education, let's privatize it, social safety nets, not in their America, right to work states,

8:54PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Debra V. has an awesome idea: Send Republican "representatives" pictures of guillotines, maybe bloodied guillotines!

5:02PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Enough is enough! The Tea Party and the Republicans have got to go! Many so-called Democrats need to be replaced as well. The Bush tax cuts have got to end and the Federal Government is going to have to start spending on rebuilding our infrastructure because people need jobs -- we ARE going to have to spend our way out of this recession/depression now.

5:01PM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THE REPS???

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