US Bar Association protests as Trump plans to scrap legal aid for poorest

Linda Klein

Donald Trump’s first draft budget includes a proposal to scrap the Legal Services Corporation, a body which provides legal aid funding to around 2 million poor Americans each year.

Trump wants to scrap the LSC which provides assistance in civil cases involving disability benefits, disaster relief, elder abuse, fair pay, wheelchair access, low-income tax credits, immigration, unlawful eviction, child support, consumer scams, school lunch, predatory lending and much else besides.

The LSC’s budget is only $375 million but the body has been a target of the ultra-right wing fanatics by whom Trump is surrounded.

The organisation was established in 1974 by Republican President Richard Nixon who, until Trump’s arrival on the scene, had never been regarded as either liberal or visionary.

Linda Klein, president of the American Bar Association, the lawyers’ organization, said that the Legal Services Corporation assured “access to justice for all, the very idea that propelled our nation to independence”.

She added: “Our nation’s core values are reflected in the LSC’s work in securing housing for veterans, freeing seniors from scams, serving rural areas when others won’t, protecting battered women, helping disaster survivors back to their feet, and many others. Thirty cost-benefit analyses all show that legal aid returns far more benefits than costs to communities across America.”

Seventy per cent of legal aid recipients are women living on or below the poverty line.

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