This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black said, "There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has."
A recent budget draft from President Donald Trump proposes eliminating the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the primary funding for civil legal aid for the poor in the United States. LSC receives $375 million a year, or 0.011 percent of the federal budget, a pittance compared to other countries (England spends 17 times more than America per capita).
If Americans are to receive equal justice under the law, LSC must be fully funded. There is not a right to counsel in America for civil cases, which means the poor in Utah and elsewhere will go almost entirely without legal representation if LSC is eliminated. This would be a disaster.
In his inaugural address, the president proclaimed that, "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer." If Trump and our Republican delegation in Congress want to fulfill their promise to the forgotten Americans who are struggling every day, on the brink of homelessness, surviving abuse, they must fight on their behalf to increase funding for legal services.