11/12/2003 3:26 PM
JOURNAL OF GENDER, SOCIAL POLICY & THE LAW
aim to avoid litigation whenever possible and Legal Aid offices are notably successful in this.”16 While, prior to the War on Poverty, legal aid lawyers brought only six percent of cases to court, by 1971 legal services lawyers were litigating seventeen percent of their cases. While there is no record of any legal aid cases brought to the U.S. Supreme Court prior to 1967, from 1965 through 1974 legal services programs were involved in 164 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court18 and were successful sixty-two percent of the time.19 In the U.S. Supreme Court, legal services programs sought the elimination of welfare regulations that required “a man in the house;”20 that denied benefits to college students,21 resident aliens of the United States,22 citizens who recently moved to a new state,23 children born to large families;24 17
and that failed to provide hearings to all applicants.25 Department of Health, Education, and Welfare estimated at the
led to a Programs
$400-$500 million also challenged
yearly increase in in the Supreme
payments.26 the grossly
16. SUSAN E. LAWRENCE, THE POOR IN COURT: THE LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM AND SUPREME COURT DECISION MAKING 20 (1990) (quoting EMERY A. BROWNELL, LEGAL AID IN THE UNITED STATES (1951)).
DAVIS, supra note 15, at 10.
LAWRENCE, supra note 16, at 9 (discussing the history of legal services cases
brought before the Supreme Court and noting that before the mid-sixties, none of the interest groups that had occasionally represented indigent clients focused on poverty per se).
19. See id. at 127 (specifying that seventy-four of the clients’ legal services program attorneys represented before the Court achieved the specific legal result, if not the doctrine they sought).
20. See King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309 (1968) (holding that an Alabama “substitute father” regulation was invalid and inconsistent with the Social Security Act because it disqualified children otherwise eligible for aid if their mother was cohabitating with a man not obligated to support the children).
21. See Townsend v. Swank, 404 U.S. 282 (1971) (determining that an Illinois law excluding needy dependent children attending college from AFDC benefits was in conflict with the Social Security Act and thus invalid under the Supremacy Clause).
22. See Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365 (1971) (ruling that provisions of Arizona and Pennsylvania welfare laws conditioning benefits on citizenship and imposing durational residency requirements violated the Equal Protection Clause).
23. See Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969) (finding a D.C. statute requiring one year residence for receipt of welfare assistance violative of Equal Protection Clause).
24. See Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471 (1970) (declaring that Maryland’s cap of $250 per month for welfare benefits, no matter what the size of the family, is not violative of the Equal Protection Clause).
25. See Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254 (1970) (holding that the Due Process Clause requires an evidentiary hearing before welfare benefits may be terminated).
26. See LAWRENCE, supra note 16, at 89.