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HORNSTEIN_FINALMENTE.DOC

11/12/2003 3:26 PM

2003]

THE POLITICS OF EQUAL JUSTICE

1097

White House, Republicans, who won control of Congress in 1994, resumed their assault on the agency with renewed vigor.57 Arguing that LSC programs perpetuated poverty to insure a need for their

services, Congress slashed the agency’s appropriation

severe

new

restrictions.58

The

agency

reduction in funding in fiscal year 1996.59

suffered a In addition,

and imposed $122 million nineteen new

restrictions were imposed on

represent

the

poor.60

New

how the agency’s lawyers were able to restrictions and continued threats of

defunding

would

continue

to

characterize

the

agency’s

relationship

with the 104th Congress.61 Under the leadership the lexicon of Republican reform permanently “abolish” next to the Legal Services Corporation.62

of Newt affixed

Gingrich, the verb

In June of 1995, twenty-eight members of Congress, among them former New York Congressman Gerald H. Solomon and current Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, sent a letter to House Speaker Newt Gingrich warning that “there is every reason to believe that this agency will threaten the reforms contained within the Republican ‘Contract with America.’”63 They also claimed that “[t]he Legal Services Corporation is a corrupt agency that is saddling further generations with billions of dollars of debt and entangling millions of

Americans

in a cycle

control of

Congress

of government dependency.”64 has meant that since 1996,

Republican the House

Appropriations budget for the

Committee has recommended a fixed $141 million agency.65 This recommended budget was about fifty

percent

less

than

what

the

agency’s

actual

funding

levels

were

for

democratic Congress increased LSC’s budget, and showed support for keeping LSC in existence).

57. See id. at 9 (stating that the newly Republican controlled Congress changed the political climate for LSC, even advocating for its abolition); see also Lorenz, supra note 5, at 304-05 (noting that LSC suffered its greatest appropriations decrease when Newt Gingrich led the Republican House of Representatives in the mid-1990s).

58. See Lorenz, supra note 5, at 306 (commenting on the harsh restrictions imposed by Congress on who LSC attorneys could represent).

  • 59.

    Id. at 305.

  • 60.

    Id. at 306 (summarizing the new restrictions imposed on LSC, and how many

advocates viewed them as “the most crushing of any of the prohibitions [LSC] had suffered in 25 years”).

61. See id. (noting that the decrease of federal funding to LSC prompted lawsuits against LSC alleging First Amendment violations of both legal services clients and attorneys).

  • 62.

    See Letter to Newt Gingrich, supra note 4.

  • 63.

    Id.

  • 64.

    Id.

  • 65.

    John McKay, Federally Funded Legal Services: A New Vision of Equal Justice

Under Law, 68 TENN. L. REV. 101, 102 n.4 (2000).

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