Legal Aid Funding Restrictions Upheld

     (CN) – Legal-aid groups that get money from Legal Services Corp. can be restricted from lobbying, soliciting clients, participating in class actions and seeking attorneys’ fees, the 9th Circuit ruled, adding that the limits don’t violate the First Amendment.

     The circuit rejected a challenge by two Oregon-based groups – Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center – that sued after they were barred from merging by Legal Services Corp., a non-profit established by Congress to give legal aid to the poor.
     Legal Services, by regulation, requires separation from groups that engage in the restricted activities to ensure “objective integrity.”
     The Oregon groups appealed the decision to dismiss their complaint, but the San Francisco-based circuit found that the restrictions “do not discriminate against a particular viewpoint,” and that Congress set the restrictions to limit procedural tools available to attorneys.

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