11/12/2003 3:26 PM
JOURNAL OF GENDER, SOCIAL POLICY & THE LAW
III. THE POLITICS OF EQUAL JUSTICE
Dismayed by the effectiveness of the Legal Services Program in the
first the was
Supreme Court, California Congressman George Murphy
defeated in the Senate, that same Program’s juvenile justice work.35
year Congress did restrict the Murphy in 1969 tried—again
unsuccessfully—to give state services program funding. 36
Ronald Reagan had an axe to grind: when he was Governor of California, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) brought litigation leading to an increase in the state’s minimum wage and to the establishment of food programs to provide benefits to close to a
hundred thousand people.37 In 1971 Reagan tried to CRLA alleging 127 violations of OEO regulations.
veto funding for A three judge
panel subsequently found
the charges “totally irresponsible and reaction, a bill emerged in Congress to
create an independent, government-funded civil legal services. President Nixon, however,
corporation vetoed it. 39
In 1972, Vice-President Agnew, in the ABA Journal, referred to legal aid lawyers as “ideological vigilantes.”40 Agnew was outraged by a New Jersey legal services lawsuit seeking relocation housing for poor people displaced by urban renewal projects. President Nixon’s choice to lead the OEO legal services program in 1973—Howard Philips— had as his first order of business a plan to dismantle the program. 41
See LAWRENCE, supra note 16, at 116.
See id. (specifying that while the Murphy Amendment was defeated 52-36,
Congress did pass a criminal representation amendment, which resulted in the restriction of juvenile justice work).
36. See id. (explaining that the second Murphy Amendment was excluded but that similar attempts to limit it continued throughout the duration of the LSP).
37. Arthur von Keller, IV, From Whence We Come: History and the Legal Services Advocate, MGMT. INFO. EXCH. J., Nov. 1988, at 9.
Id. at 10.
See Quigley, supra note 13, at 251-53 (explaining that President Nixon was
displeased that the Mondale-Steiger bill, which created a national Legal Services Corporation, limited presidential power over the board and provided for legal services without restrictions).
40. See Agnew, supra note 32, at 931 (indicating his concern that the federally- funded system would be run by these “ideological vigilantes” who cared more about social reform than their clients).
41. See Quigley, supra note 13, at 253 (discussing that Philips “canceled law reform as a goal of legal services and de-funded the back up centers essential to law reform litigation”). Philips was removed from office by court order and funding was