President Trump’s proposed budget, which eliminates federal funding to the Legal Services Corporation, would hurt people across the country, including Connecticut, in need of legal aid in civil court cases.
Legal Services has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception in 1974 and helps nearly 2 million people each year.
Those affected in Connecticut and across the nation include veterans denied rightfully earned benefits, women trapped in abusive relationships, parents seeking custody of their children and families facing wrongful evictions or foreclosures.
Connecticut currently receives $2,555,098 in federal funding from the Legal Services Corporation. That funding translated to legal aid to 17,706 people in 2014, including 7,644 children.
The elimination of funding would be a blow to many here in Connecticut who cannot afford legal representation on their own. This cut would, in effect, deny thousands of our fellow citizens, including children, equal access to justice.
The Connecticut Bar Association joins the American Bar Association and many state bar associations across the U.S. in urging Congress to do what it has done for decades, regardless of politics, and reject this short-sighted and fundamentally unfair budget proposal.
As the budget process proceeds, the CBA and its delegation to the ABA, which includes me, will be working to ensure that Congress provides adequate funding for the Legal Services Corporation. It is cost-effective, beneficial to millions of Americans and the right thing to do for America.
Monte Frank is president of the Connecticut Bar Association.