President Zack Statement Re: Vote by House Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Subcommittees to Cut Legal Services Funding by $104 Million
Here is an important question to ask in the wake of today’s vote: the next time a major natural disaster strikes, where should its victims turn for legal assistance in putting their lives back together? Because today’s cuts will decimate the operations of the local legal aid providers that normally step in to help.
Over the past few months, parts of our country have been devastated by tornadoes, wildfires and floods. And across the country, the tough economy is flooding legal aid offices with new clients facing serious legal problems for which they cannot afford to hire a lawyer to handle. From help with property deeds to child support issues to veteran’s benefits, legal services’ lawyers deliver for those in need.
Unless the full Appropriations Committee or the Senate moves to restore funding for legal services, our neighbors may be shut out of our system of justice. Congress should look for savings in programs that don’t work. LSC works for millions of Americans across the country every year.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
(Media contact: Stephanie Ortbals-Tibbs, 202-662-1091, Stephanie.OrtbalsTibbs@americanbar.org)