Legal Services Corporation v. Velazquez

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Determined the constitutionality of a restriction imposed by Congress and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on the professional activities of groups that receive LSC funding.

Full Case Titile: 

Legal Services Corp. v. Velazquez, 531 U.S. 533 (2001)
  • Fairness in the Courts

Year: 

2001
  • Joined Amicus Brief

Brief: 

This case challenges the constitutionality of a restriction imposed by Congress and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on the professional activities of groups that receive LSC funding.  The welfare reform provision at issue circumscribes LSC-funded lawyers’ ability to challenge, on behalf of individual clients seeking welfare benefits (including SSI, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and TANF), the lawfulness of existing welfare reform statutes or regulations.

Concluding that this restriction violates the First Amendment by discriminating on the basis of viewpoint – since it accords funding to grantees who represent clients who do not challenge the existing rules of law but denies it to those who do – the Second Circuit excised this proviso from the welfare reform statute.  The Supreme Court agreed.

Amicus Brief

Opinion