11/12/2003 3:26 PM
JOURNAL OF GENDER, SOCIAL POLICY & THE LAW
product of the legal profession in the United States was estimated at thirty billion dollars. 104
Twenty years later, the amount would surely be in the hundreds of billion dollars. But should you be a farm worker paid less than the minimum wage, an impoverished mother living in public housing
facing eviction, a Medicaid recipient facing termination
to a lawyer.
need of health care, you First, your area’s legal
of her may or services
program may only be giving brief counsel and advice telephone hotline because of funding shortages caused by
through a Congress’s
growth of relief
funding. Second, your she can pursue because
lawyer will be restricted in what class actions, legislative advocacy,
and cases involving claims
that permit might not
statutory fees are all be eligible because
desperately poor, you may earn a few hundred dollars income, or you may not be a United States citizen.
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN: POLITICS OR PRINCIPLE?
When Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow reached the Land of Oz, and Toto pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz, what they found was a small ordinary man—devoid of the majestic powers of a great, wise, and powerful wizard. When it comes to the subject of Congressional support for equal justice for the Nation’s poor, what you find behind the decades old curtain of vitriolic opposition to this tiny federal agency is not principled opposition but hypocrisy—and a specie of hypocrisy that is particularly troubling because its practitioners are willing to deny others equal justice while taking measures to insure it for themselves.
Congress’s disparate approach to equal justice for the poor and for themselves is as disturbing as it is shameful. As Congress currently deliberates funding levels for the agency for fiscal year 2004, liberal Democrats led by Senator Edward Kennedy, as well as the ABA, support increased funding in the amount of a fifty-one million dollar increase.105 In 2003, LSC received $336 million, which included a
the highest net operating income was over $100 million).
104. Lloyd N. Cutler, Conflicts of Interest, 30 EMORY L.J. 1015, 1016 (1981) (stating that the figure came close to the monetary compensation for U.S. farmers).
105. See Letter from Senators Kennedy, Biden, Sarbanes, Murray, Levin, Wyden, Bingaman, Durbin, Kerry, Reed, Harkin, Landrieu, Rockefeller, Edwards, Breanx, Stabenow, Daschle, Cantwell, Kohl, Clinton, Feingold, Corzine, Lautenberg, Dayton, Pryor, to Senators Judd Gregg and Ernest F. Hollings of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary and Related Agencies, and Lincoln, requesting an increase of $51 million in funding for the LSC in Fiscal Year 2004 to meet urgent need (May 23, 2003), at http://www.lsc.gov.