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HORNSTEIN_FINALMENTE.DOC

11/12/2003 3:26 PM

2003]

THE POLITICS OF EQUAL JUSTICE

1095

Two more bills were introduced to establish the Legal Services Corporation and to temper the ideological wars erupting over legal aid for the poor—both bills died quiet deaths. 42

Even the American Bar Association, under the leadership of Lewis Powell, prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, tempered its support for the establishment of a Legal Services agency with concerns about social activism, political agendas, and professional standards, though these concerns were made with far more subtle and less caustic language than the invective filled rhetoric used by

politicians.43 Administration

Ironically, however, that the Legal Services

it was during the Nixon Corporation Act ultimately was

passed—and 1974, shortly

eventually signed into law by President Nixon in July of before he resigned as a result of the Watergate scandal. 44

However,

Legal

Services

continued

survival

was

not

without

compromise. clarified that

In 1973 the Program issued “[l]aw reform will no longer be

new guidelines that a primary or separate

goal of the program. . . .

45

From its inception, this small federal agency has been under unrelenting political assault. Over the last three decades, Republican presidents continued to appoint board members whose support for an independent and fully funded agency was reluctant and almost always

in line with a

severely

Administration,

however,

restricted mission.46 the agency reached its

During the Carter high-water mark in

political

support.

Funding

was

increased,

presidential

antipathy

was

gone,

and

legal

services

lawyers

were

once

again

free

to

make

America

a fairer and more million dollars to across the nation

just society.47 The agency’s funding went from $90 $321 million, and the number of local programs increased to over 300.48 Nevertheless, the agency

continued. Id.

  • 42.

    von Keller IV, supra note 37, at 10.

  • 43.

    See EARL JOHNSON, JR., THE FORMATIVE YEARS OF THE OEO LEGAL SERVICES

PROGRAM 39-69 (Russell Sage Foundation 1974) (providing a comprehensive analysis of the development of the federal program, including the ABA and Lewis Powell’s roles).

44. See Quigley, supra note 13, at 253 (describing the compromises in the LSC bill President Nixon signed, including restrictions prohibiting abortion litigation and litigation involving school desegregation and selective service).

45. See LAWRENCE, supra note 16, at 12 n.29 (providing a brief history of the changes that took place during 1966 to 1974).

46. See Quigley, supra note 13, at 251-54 (describing the restrictions that have been placed on Legal Services).

47. See id. at 254-55 (summarizing the growth of LSC during the Carter Administration and its abrupt decline at the beginning of the Reagan Administration).

48. Id. at 254.

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