Barely a day goes by that I am not distressed by something that President Trump does or says, but the proposal to drop funding for the Legal Services Corp. is particularly troubling.
Many years ago I started my legal career as a Legal Services attorney in a community law office that served a very poor area of Brooklyn, New York. Our office provided a variety of free services to needy individuals. We assisted tenants who were victimized by abusive landlords, veterans and the elderly who needed help in obtaining government benefits, and disabled individuals who faced a variety of challenges in their daily lives.
Today, Legal Services attorneys provide these same services and many others to low income and disadvantaged individuals. In fact, the Legal Services Corp. serves nearly 2 million people each year in every state of the union.
Each day across America millions of school children and others recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Perhaps the most important part of the Pledge is the phrase “… with liberty and justice for all.” And the 14th Amendment of our Constitution embraces our nation’s dedication to the concept of “equal protection under the laws.”
Our Constitution and Pledge of Allegiance are not just words but an expression of our nation’s commitment to all citizens that they will be dealt with fairly, justly and equally. In the absence of access to the legal advice and representation that is provided by the dedicated attorneys of our Legal Services Corp., the promises contained in our Constitution and our Pledge of Allegiance will lose their meaning for millions of Americans, and the suffering that so many people in need will experience is something that should never be tolerated in our great nation.
Alan J. Azzara, Esq.