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American Bar Association

ABA President Criticizes House Vote to Cut Legal Services Funding

Posted Feb 22, 2011 9:26 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Saturday to cut the budget for the Legal Services Corp. by $70 million, spurring criticism by the president of the American Bar Association.

The cut would reduce grants to local legal-aid programs by 18 percent and force the layoffs of 370 staff attorneys, according to an LSC press release. Some offices in rural areas would be closed, and about 160,000 fewer low-income people would receive legal help.

ABA President Stephen N. Zack released a statement on Sunday opposing the budget reduction. “The promise of American justice and fairness cannot be an empty one,” Zack said. “But that’s what will happen if funding for legal help to poor and working class families is slashed as proposed. These cuts would hurt people in every region, from Kansas to Kentucky, Texas to Virginia, Ohio to Florida.”

Earlier this month, the policymaking ABA House of Delegates voted to oppose any funding cuts to the LSC.

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