Recounts the history of anti-poverity civil legal aid and finds that it helps clients avoid costs, stabilize their lives, receive benefits, and rise from poverty. (65-page PDF)
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Important new history published June 2020. Includes focus on the organized legal profession’s role and attitudes.
Oral history recorded Oct. 21, 2018
Funding restrictions imposed by Congress prohibiting LSC attorneys from representing clients attempting to amend (or challenge) existing welfare law violated First Amendment guarantees of free speech because LSC’s regulations were viewpoint-based restrictions of private speech.
For recipients of federal AFDC benefits, federal work rules do not generally pre-empt state work rules. Unusually, post-enactment congressional legislative debates in reaction to the lower court decision influenced the Supreme Court. (Opinion was for two bundled cases.)
The Due Process Clause provides the right to a full hearing before welfare benefits are terminated.
Neither the doctrine of primary jurisdiction nor that of exhaustion of administrative remedies precludes federal court jurisdiction of an action brought by welfare recipients seeking to determine whether a state law was inconsistent with the requirements of the federal Social Security Act.
The home visit required by a state in connection with the AFDC program is a reasonable administrative tool and does not violate any right guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Bankruptcy protection is not a fundamental right, therefore the court denies neither due process nor equal protection to require even indigent debtors to pay a filing fee which bears a rational basis to sustaining the bankruptcy court system for its users.