Today, the Trump Administration released its initial budget that includes the complete elimination of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
As a reminder, LSC administers federal civil legal aid funding, which currently accounts for approximately $6.5 million to provide critical legal assistance to low-income families and individuals in Washington State.
Since LSC’s creation during the Nixon administration there have been several unsuccessful attempts to eliminate or reduce funding for civil legal aid. We never want to underestimate the chance that the effort to eliminate federal funding for civil legal aid may prevail. We are taking the current threat as seriously, if not more so, than prior ones.
Our partners, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the American Bar Association, are working to execute a coordinated, national advocacy effort to protect LSC funding. Your voice is crucial to these efforts. Together, we can win this fight.
Today, the ABA launched a national campaign called the Legal Aid Defender Campaign and they’ve asked us to organize people in Washington to join the campaign. Please take 5 minutes to join this effort and become a Legal Aid Defender!
Go to www.DefendLegalAid.org to register, write a short message in support of LSC funding, and then the ABA will hand deliver these messages to members of Congress. Below is a sample message.
Every day, civil legal aid saves lives, restores families and strengthens communities. Legal aid protects seniors from fraud, helps veterans attain earned benefits, saves families from homelessness and danger, and ensures that our nation’s promise of “justice for all” is realized. I’m scared that if LSC is eliminated low-income people in Washington will be unable to get the civil legal help they need to protect their health, families, homes, and livelihoods.
Please stay tuned for additional updates. In the meantime encourage your friends, family and coworkers to sign up for Equal Justice Coalition’s Action Alerts and follow the EJC on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks so much for all that you do to make access to justice a reality in our state and in our country. Please contact us if you have any questions.