11/12/2003 3:26 PM
THE POLITICS OF EQUAL JUSTICE
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
reduction in funding in fiscal year 1996.59
suffered a In addition,
and imposed $122 million nineteen new
restrictions were imposed on
how the agency’s lawyers were able to restrictions and continued threats of
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
in a cycle
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
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).
Id. at 305.
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).
See Letter to Newt Gingrich, supra note 4.
John McKay, Federally Funded Legal Services: A New Vision of Equal Justice
Under Law, 68 TENN. L. REV. 101, 102 n.4 (2000).