ABA leader blasts Trump's proposed budget

American Bar Association President Linda A. Klein says the budget proposed this week by the Trump Administration contains “egregious cuts” that would cause great harm to many people across the country.

Klein said the budget cuts offered by the White House “would severely undermine the fairness of the legal system and deny access to justice for some of society’s most vulnerable individuals.”

“These include children, veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities, people in poverty, families suffering after natural disasters, survivors of domestic violence and victims of other crimes,” Klein said. “America must not compromise on the principles that justice is accessible to all and all are equal under the law.

The ABA leader said that, “among the more egregious cuts to the Constitution’s promise of a fair legal process are proposed cuts affecting the Legal Services Corporation.”

“This program provides funding for civil legal aid to those who cannot afford it, serving people in every congressional district,” she said.

The Legal Services Corporation “promotes fair and efficient operation of our nation’s courts, giving low-income people representation in custody disputes, wrongful evictions, denial of benefits cases and other matters,” Klein said. “What makes the cuts more outrageous is that more than 30 cost-benefit analyses all show that Legal Services Corporation delivers far more in benefits than it costs.”

Equal access to justice, according to Klein, “is the cornerstone of our American justice system and without the LSC, courthouse doors all over the country would slam closed for millions of Americans.

Klein also blasted proposed cuts that would affect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The program “encourages people to work in lower-paying but critically needed jobs that serve the public good,”?she said.

“Without loan forgiveness, “ Klein said, “fewer people would be able to dedicate their lives to public service as prosecutors, public defenders, legal aid lawyers and other justice-related fields, especially in underserved rural areas.

“While these and other programs affecting access to justice have been “ she said, “many other parts of the proposed budget would also do severe damage to the most vulnerable people in our society by cutting access to food assistance, medical care, housing and the other necessities of life.

As the budget process proceeds, Klein said the ABA urges Congress “to reinstate adequate funding for these important and valuable programs.”

“In order to ‘establish justice,’ as our Constitution calls on us to do, these programs must be preserved,” she said.


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