LSC 1AC

Contention 1: The Status Quo

Restrictions on the Legal Services Corporation deny critical legal services to the most needy
Henderson and Zirkin, President and VP of LCCR, 6/24
(Wade Henderson and Nancy Zirkin, President and Vice President of Leadership conference on civil rights, 2009)

Restrictions on the LSC imposed by Congress are unnecessary and have hampered LSC's ability to deliver legal services to those most vulnerable. Restrictions barring legal aid attorneys from collecting attorneys' fees, prohibiting legal services clients from participating in class action lawsuits, and limiting the use of even non-federal monies – roughly $490 million in private and non-federal loans are tied to federal restrictions - have severely impacted the ability of the LSC to effectively and efficiently deliver legal services to individuals who most need legal assistance.




These restrictions preclude integral structural reform through class action lawsuits
Shepard, North Carolina law student, 2009
(Kris Shepard, edited by David Goldfield, “Rationing Justice”, March 2009)

Legal services attorneys handled 1.7 million CELSQS in 1995, then 1.4 million in 1996, a decrease of nearly 20 percent." As they had after the budget cut of IQBI, local programs in the Deep South adapted to the new fiscal realities by decreasing cases and services and. in some cam. Reaching out for alternative sources of Funding. The Atlanta Legal Aid Society, under the leadership of Steve Gottlieb, became particularly adept at fund- raising among the private bar." In spite of such efforts, retrenchment affected all local programs, and the Cuts proved devastating for programs that relied heavily on LSC funding, such as those in Mississippi and Alabama. More drastic than the budget cuts. however, was the new slate of restrictions on the types of cases poverty lawyers could handle. Conservative opponents finally achieved their long-sought goal of restricting representation to individual clients, rather than groups of low-income Americans, by making it illegal for legal services attorneys to participate in class action lawsuits which had been central to poverty lawyers "law reform" strategies since the 1960s. Other restrictions ended legal services advocacy of many aliens and all prisoners as well as strengthened limitations on lobbying. Furthermore, the same Congress that ended the federal entitlement to welfare made it illegal for poverty lawyers to challenge these reforms? To be sure, legal services lawyers confronted many of the same issues they had for three decades, but the legislative events of the mid-1990s promised to reshape poverty law practice once again .


1AC – Plan Text
Thus the plan:
The United States federal government should repeal all Legal Service Corporation funding restrictions concerning class action lawsuits and the claiming of attorney’s fees.





































1AC – Right to Counsel Adv
Contention _2_: Right to Counsel

LSC restrictions inhibit access to justice – overturn ensures access to counsel
Hon. Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 2001 (“Legal Services Corporation v. Carmen Velazquez et al.; United States v. Carmen Velazquez et al.” 531 U.S. 533; 121 S. Ct. 1043; 149 L. Ed. 2d 63; 2001 U.S. LEXIS 1954; 69 U.S.L.W. 4157; 2001 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1619; 2001 Daily Journal DAR 2079; 2001 Colo. J. C.A.R. 1059; 14 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 112. Lexis ZE)
It is no answer to say the restriction on speech is harmless because, under LSC's interpretation of the Act, its attorneys can withdraw. This misses the point. The statute is an attempt to draw lines around the LSC program to exclude from litigation those arguments and theories Congress finds unacceptable but which by their nature are within the province of the courts to consider. The restriction on speech is even more problematic because in cases where the attorney withdraws from a representation, the client is unlikely to find other counsel. The explicit premise for providing LSC attorneys is the necessity to make available representation "to persons financially unable to afford legal assistance." 42 U.S.C. § 2996(a)(3). There often will be no alternative source for the client to receive vital information respecting constitutional and statutory rights bearing upon claimed benefits. Thus, with respect to the litigation services Congress has funded, there is no alternative channel for expression of the advocacy Congress [*547] seeks to restrict. This is in stark contrast to Rust. There, a patient could receive the approved Title X family planning counseling funded by the Government and later could consult an affiliate or independent organization to receive abortion counseling. [*76] Unlike indigent clients who seek LSC representation, the patient in Rust was not required to forfeit the Government-funded advice when she also received abortion counseling through alternative channels. Because LSC attorneys must withdraw whenever a question of a welfare statute's validity arises, an individual could not obtain joint representation so that the constitutional challenge would be presented by a non-LSC attorney, and other, permitted, arguments advanced by LSC counsel. Finally, LSC and the Government maintain that § 504(a)(16) is necessary to define the scope and contours of the federal program, a condition that ensures funds can be spent for those cases most immediate to congressional concern. In support of this contention, they suggest the challenged [1052] limitation takes into account the nature of the grantees' activities and provides limited congressional funds for the provision of simple suits for benefits. In petitioners' view, the restriction operates neither to maintain the current welfare system nor insulate it from attack; rather, it helps the current welfare system function in a more efficient and fair manner by removing from the program complex challenges to existing welfare laws. The effect of the restriction, however, is to prohibit advice or argumentation that existing welfare laws are unconstitutional or unlawful. HN10Go to the description of this Headnote. Congress cannot recast a condition on funding as a mere definition of its program in every case, lest the First Amendment be reduced to a simple semantic exercise. Here, notwithstanding Congress' purpose to confine and limit its program, the restriction operates to insulate current welfare laws from constitutional scrutiny and certain other legal challenges, a condition implicating central First Amendment concerns. In no lawsuit funded by the Government [*548] can the LSC attorney, speaking on behalf of a private client, challenge existing welfare laws. As a result, arguments by indigent clients that a welfare statute is unlawful or unconstitutional cannot be expressed in this Government-funded program for petitioning the courts, even though the program was created for litigation involving welfare benefits, and even though the ordinary course of litigation involves the expression of theories and postulates on both, or multiple, sides of an issue.


1AC – Right to Counsel Adv

Plan’s ruling spills over to create precedent for ensured civil counsel
James Spriggs and Thomas Hansford, Professors of Political Science, at the University of California at Davis, “Explaining the Overruling of U.S. Supreme Court Precedent,” Journal of Politics, November, 2001, http://www.law.berkeley.edu/ institutes/csls/precjopfinal. pdf
Second, the norm of stare decisis, as operating through prior legal treatment, influences the Court. A precedent is at greater risk of being overruled if the Court previously interpreted it in a negative manner. In addition, particular characteristics of precedents affect the overruling of precedent by helping structure how justices subsequently interpret and implement opinions. Thus, the greater the consensus and clarity of a precedent, as seen in its voting and opinion coalitions, the less likely it will be overruled. The Court, however, appears not to respond to any potential separation-of-powers constraint. In conclusion, our analysis indicates that Supreme Court justices are constrained decision makers. Justices are motivated by their policy preferences, but when deciding to overrule cases they are also constrained by both informal norms and specific precedent characteristics. Indeed, our empirical results indicate that legal norms exert a stronger substantive influence on the overruling of precedent than the justices’ policy preferences. Thus, one of the principal implications of this research is that legal norms can exert considerable influence on Supreme Court decision making.

1AC – Right to Counsel Adv

Recognizing the right to civil counsel is key to de-racialize judicial structures
Martha Davis, Co-Director, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Northeastern University School of Law, 2009 (“In the Interests of Justice: Human Rights and the Right to Counsel in Civil Cases.” Touro Law Review. 25 Touro L. Rev. 147. Lexis
ZE)
Several provisions of CERD address fair procedure and adjudication through the lens of equality and nondiscrimination. For example, Article 5 requires that States Parties undertake "to guarantee ... the right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice." 85 Addressing the remedies available to victims of discrimination, Article 6 provides that “States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to this Convention, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination. 86” Both of these formulations encompass civil matters, and explicitly [*170] require that States take positive steps to ensure effective access to the apparatus of the State's justice system. As the principal body with responsibility for interpreting and implementing CERD, the CERD Committee issues General Recommendations to assist nations with the task of implementing CERD's provisions. In its recently-issued General Recommendation 31 "on the prevention of racial discrimination in the administration and function of the criminal justice system," the CERD Committee highlighted the importance of making it easier for victims of acts of racism to seek civil redress in the courts by, inter alia, providing free assistance of counsel. Specifically, in Section C, paragraph (17)(b), the CERD Committee commented, “In order to make it easier for the victims of acts of racism to bring actions in the courts, the steps to be taken should include the following: ... . Granting victims effective judicial cooperation and legal aid, including the assistance of counsel and an interpreter free of charge. 87” General Recommendation No. 29 addressing "discrimination based on descent," similarly recommends that States Parties "take the necessary steps to secure equal access to the justice system for all members of descent-based communities, including by providing legal aid, facilitating of group claims and encouraging non-governmental [*171] organizations to defend community rights." 88 More generally, General Recommendation No. 20 on the guarantee of human rights free from racial discrimination states that "many of the rights and freedoms mentioned in article 5, such as the right to equal treatment before tribunals, are to be enjoyed by all persons living in a given State." 89 In monitoring CERD's implementation, the CERD Committee has also been mindful of the importance of legal aid in ensuring equal access to the courts and in enlisting the existing mechanisms of government in combating racial discrimination. Responding to these cues, nations filing reports with the CERD Committee routinely describe their schemes for providing legal aid in civil cases. 90 The CERD Committee has also commented favorably on participating States' efforts to expand and improve civil legal aid. 91 When countries have fallen short in implementing CERD's provisions, the CERD Committee has specifically urged that they expand access to civil legal aid as one aspect of increasing their compliance with CERD. 92 [*172] These recommendations have often focused on the inequality that arises when legal aid is not widely available. For example, in commenting on Botswana's report, the CERD Committee expressed concern regarding "the reported difficulties experienced by poor people, many of whom belong to San/Basarwa groups and other non-Tswana tribes, in accessing common law courts, due in particular to high fees [and] the absence of legal aid in most cases." 93 The Committee recommended that legal aid be provided "especially to persons belonging to the most disadvantaged ethnic groups, to ensure their full access to justice." 94 Similarly, in reviewing Madagascar's most recent report, CERD noted the limited number of cases brought by victims of racial discrimination and posited this might be "the result of, inter alia, the limited resources available to them." 95 To address this human rights issue, CERD urged Madagascar to "make it easier for victims to gain access to justice, in particular through the effective application of a system of legal aid." 96 CERD's strongest statement to date on the importance of civil counsel was issued in the course of a recent review of the United States' compliance with CERD. The CERD Committee noted "with concern the disproportionate impact that the lack of a generally recognised right to counsel in civil proceedings [*173] has on indigent persons belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities." 97 In light of these disparities, and echoing the ABA's Resolution on civil counsel, the Committee recommended that the United States "allocate sufficient resources to ensure legal representation of indigent persons belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities in civil proceedings, with particular regard to those proceedings where basic human needs - such as housing, health care, or child custody - are at stake." 98

1AC – Right to Counsel Adv

The impact is systematic genocide
Clarence J. Munford, Professor, Black Studies and History, University of Guelph (Ontario), 1996, (Race and Reparations: A Black Perspective for the 21st Century, p. 3 ZE)
There is a worm lying coiled in the heart of Western civilization – the worm of white racism. Like the DNA which governs the genetic features of each individual human being, racism has controlled the evolutionary development of white civilization. While interacting with many other factors of social life, it has ultimate control of societies that have been created or dominated by people of European ancestry. The study of the history of society reveals a genocidal instinct embedded in white civilization. Since the mid-fifteenth century this traitenthroned as white world supremacy – has inflicted catastrophic damage on people of color around the globe. Dominating all the complex systems which drive Western societies, white racism singled out Africa and Africans of the Diaspora for a holocaust of five hundred years and more – one which shows no signs of letting up. On the eve of the twenty-first century, white racism threatens Black people with continued exploitation, degradation, social confinement, and marginalization – and, failing that, extermination.

1AC – Justice Gap (1/2)

The vast majority of the poor lack access to adequate legal services
Washington Post, 10/15/2005 (http://www.encyclopedia.com/ doc/1P2-85652.html)
At least 80 percent of low-income Americans who need civil legal assistance do not receive any, in part because legal aid offices in this country are so stretched that they routinely turn away qualified prospective clients, a new study shows. Roughly 1 million cases per year are being rejected because legal aid programs lack the resources to handle them, according to the study, "Documenting the Justice Gap in America," by the Legal Services Corp. (LSC), which funds 143 legal aid programs across the country.

This lack of legal access destroys public involvement in government
Kimberly Breedon, J.D. University of Cincinatti, Winter 2008 (“Toward a Cumulative Effects Doctrine in First Amendment Jurisprudence.” Loyola Law Review. 54 Loy. L. Rev. 855. Lexis
ZE)
Petitioning the courts is an important political right for two reasons. First, access to the judicial forum is essential for vindicating individual legal rights. Second, adjudicatory proceedings - albeit indirectly and to a lesser degree than in the political branches - enable citizens to participate in the decision-making processes that construe statutes and constitutions, develop law, and determine policy interpretations. The influence of citizen participation on courts' decisions is not as evident as it is on those of the legislature and executive, but it is important, particularly in an adversarial framework. 27 Litigants shape the direction and content of the courts' decisions by serving as the source for evidence and arguments and by framing the contours of the controversy. 28 Courts shape legislative policy outcomes ex post and interpret the law by developing precedent and legal doctrines, and by construing legal texts - all "with the participation of affected parties that may otherwise be excluded because of their weakness in the electoral process." 29 Thus, the degree of the citizenry's access to the courts, as is true for their access to the electoral branches, will determine the extent to which they influence outcomes. Citizens' access to adjudicatory bodies arguably assumes even greater importance in the context of challenges to administrative decisions, which are made by unelected government officials and are therefore beyond the reach of voters who may be dissatisfied with the outcomes. 30 Many of these decisions significantly affect people's health, safety, or welfare. To ensure that the laws and regulations are properly enforced, citizens must be able to challenge agency decisions as a mechanism for checking officials' discretion. The judiciary provides the forum for that check and ensures that agency decisions are made according to the rule of law, not the rule of men. 31 Without open access to the courts, citizens lose this important check on the power of the state, 32 which, in some circumstances, may also [*862] represent the power of the politically well-connected. 33 B. Poverty as an Impediment to Court Access Litigation may seem an unlikely candidate for promoting democratic self-government, but it serves precisely that role (among others). Court decisions determine the contours of public policy, protect individual rights, and ensure that the rule of law prevails - and litigants help shape courts' decision-making. 34 Thus, political rights in a participatory democracy must include open access to courts, 35 and - as a political right - such access must be equally available and it must be meaningful. 36 Economic inequalities, however, present obstacles to achieving equal political rights, as much so in the courts as in the electoral branches. Economic advantages, which are almost always conjoined with educational advantages and better access to information, make individuals and organizations better able and more inclined to exercise political rights. 37 In other words, equality of rights in theory does not necessarily mean equality of rights in practice. These inequalities may be more readily apparent in the political branches, but they create significant disparities in the adjudicatory context as well. Economic differences in administrative and judicial proceedings transform into inequalities in political rights because of the de facto requirement that parties have legal assistance to advocate their claims effectively. 38 All too often, the poor cannot obtain legal assistance. Without legal counsel, they are significantly less able to participate meaningfully in the courts' decision-making process and are, therefore, not only less able to advance their own case effectively, but also less likely to be able to help shape the contours of legal doctrine and policy interpretation. 39 As Susan Lawrence insightfully observes, "when access to the judicial forum is limited, not by the constraints of justiciability but by the financial ability of the aggrieved to retain counsel," the result is, to some extent, a threat to important elements of self-government in that the [*863] right to petition the government through the courts is, at best truncated, and at worst, obliterated. 40


1AC – Justice Gap (2/2)
Contention 3- Justice Gap

Ensuring public involvement in government is necessary for planetary survival
Kenneth M. Dolbeare, Prof. of Political Econ. @ Evergreen, and Linda Medcalf, Prof. of Poli Sci @ Evergreen , ’87
[The Case Against the Constitution, “Class and Pluralism in America: the Constitution Reconsidered,” p. 138-140]
Where have all the voters gone? They have caught on that the system is rigged. Popular majorities' efforts to change either the distribution of wealth and power or the basic policies that seem necessary to maintain that structure of wealth and power simply don't seem possible. To be sure, decades of accomplishment by the ideological defenders and celebrants of this system have encouraged Americans to accept it as "democracy." Americans learn to want or, more likely, consider inevitable whatever is produced, to settle for various diversionary satisfactions, and/or to fear change and even suspect that those who do seek change must have self-interested and unpatriotic motives. These are ideological rationalizations for the central fact that the Hamiltonian Constitution excludes people from directly affecting important public policy outcomes. This is not to say that there is no history of popular impact on government, or that the Supreme Court is merely a tool of the corporations. Either such caricature of our argument would be silly. What is important is that popular impact, such as it is, can be made effective only in very limited ways through the electoral process. For the most part, it must come through disruptionriots, massive strikes, demonstrations involving the threat of violence, and other attacks on the social order itself. What does it mean for a popular government that its people are politically effective only when they threaten to destroy it? The Supreme Court has made many decisions, particularly in the middle years of this century, that advanced basic democratic rights. But that was a result of judicial appointments, not an attribute of the institution. The Supreme Court has, and can, and may well again, make precisely the opposite kinds of decisions. What does it mean for a popular government that its basic policies can be set by a transitory majority drawn from a body of nine life-appointed lawyers? What we are saying is that the Framers' two major goals are threatened today by the success with which Hamilton and his followers implemented those goals. We do not have a stable political economic system, and we do not have the capacity to make the choices necessary to assure a strong and successful American political economy. Our political system works by fits and starts. It is neither responsive nor accountable and it lacks solid grounding in the body of its people. It sits and waits for the next crisis. Unfortunately, to solve that crisis, it may have to transform itself into something that will be very difficult to rationalize as "democracy." We have not addressed the great issues of nuclear war, planetary survival, or even American economic viability in a drastically changing world economy-not because the people don't care, but because there is no linkage between the people's felt needs and their policymakers. No such basic policies can be implemented, even if policymakers were to concur, without the sustained support of some major portion of the people. To solve our problems, or merely to fulfill the Framers' goals in the wholly different conditions of our times, we will have to come to terms with Hamilton's Constitution in a realistic manner. Perhaps the best way to honor the Framers' work is not to join in obfuscating celebrations, but to act as they did under like circumstances. We might start by critically exploring the ways in which today's analogue of the Articles of Confederation is defective in achieving goals that are necessary and desirable for the future. Obviously, like the Framers, we would have to address basic principles of social order and purpose-if we have not completely forgotten how to do so. (That we have forgotten is strongly suggested by the nature of the proposals currently offered for constitutional "reform. 1136 ) Curing the defects of Hamilton's Constitution may not be possible, for many reasons. It may be that patterns of material advantage, or the depth of the problems we face, or the sheer size of the country, make it practically impossible. Or our situation may be even worse: perhaps generations of structural deflection-of elites as well as of the general public---from considering the Constitution in a realistic manner has made it impossible for us to do so now. Decades of cultural lowering of the criteria of democracy may have made it impossible for us to recapture its fuller definition and potential. If there is a route out of our crisis, it lies in deliberately reversing Hamilton's strategy. That is, we must seek to re-engage the people in their government, and particularly in ways that enable them to have direct impact on the substance of important public policies.

1AC – Structural Inequality (1/3)

Contention 4: Structural Inequality
Current welfare policy fails due to lack of enforcement despite proven legal means of challenging abusive practices because of restrictions on LSC aid.
Randal Jeffrey, Asst. Director New York Legal Assistance Group, Fall 2003 (“Article: Facilitating Welfare Rights Class Action Litigation: Putting Damages and Attorney’s Fees to Work.” Brooklyn Law Review. 69 Brooklyn L. Rev. 281 Lexis ZE)
Throughout the United States, welfare administrators violate the law. As discussed below, numerous reported cases well document these violations. 19 Despite being known, these violations have persisted for decades, 20 even though the laws governing welfare programs generally clearly define how such programs must be administered. Moreover, the violations continue despite the availability of a simple litigation model, discussed below, to challenge them. Before detailing the violations and how they can be remedied, this Part first provides a brief introduction to the three welfare programs that this Article discusses: public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid. A. The Three Welfare Programs Even though public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid are largely federally funded, state and local agencies [*287] administer all three programs. Further, welfare departments often administer all three programs through the same local welfare offices. Since each program serves different purposes through varying structures, each merits a separate discussion. The Social Security Act of 1935 21 established the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program as the first major federal program for cash assistance to households with children and little or no income or resources. 22 Congress renamed the program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1962, 23 and then Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in 1996. 24 The 1996 TANF legislation block-granted the program, meaning that the federal government now provides each state with a specific amount of funds each year, with the states responsible for the remainder of the program funding. 25 Within a minimal federal framework, states regulate and administer TANF-funded programs. In June 2002, just over five million people received federallyfunded TANF benefits. 26 [*288] In addition to TANF-funded programs, many state and local governments run general assistance programs. These programs serve households with little or no income or resources that are ineligible for TANF funded benefits, primarily because the households lack children. 27 General assistance programs are completely locally funded, regulated, and administered. In New York City, for example, over 200,000 people received general assistance in June 2003. 28 Congress created the food stamp program in 1964 29 primarily to reduce hunger and malnutrition by providing food to impoverished households. 30 The federal government regulates and funds the program, but leaves the responsibility and part of the cost of administration to the states. 31 While Congress has expanded the program since 1964, 32 it remains [*289] federally regulated. In August 2002, almost twenty million people received food stamps. 33 Congress established the Medicaid program in 1965 to allow states to provide medical care to those with little or no income or resources. 34 The Medicaid program is state funded with federal matching grants, federally regulated, and state administered. As of the federal fiscal year 2000, Medicaid covered over forty-four million people. 35 Importantly, for any discussion of welfare rights litigation, all three welfare programs - public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid - create rights in the benefits that they provide. 36 Once the benefits are established by law, those meeting the criteria for eligibility cannot be denied benefits without due process of law. 37 The Supreme Court first endorsed this approach to welfare benefits in the landmark case of Goldberg v. Kelly, where the Court, noting that public assistance benefits are an entitlement, held that due process protections apply. 38 While the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) 39 raises the question of whether some or all state-administered TANF programs continue to create property rights, 40 no court [*290] has yet held that eligible TANF applicants and recipients have no property interest in TANF benefits. 41 This property aspect, which essentially constitutionalizes welfare programs, has important implications discussed later on. 42 The Goldberg decision remains the Supreme Court's most powerful commentary on the importance of welfare benefits. In Goldberg, the Court recognized the value of welfare benefits both for the individuals who receive them and society at large. 43 While both before and after the Goldberg decision the Court has held that welfare benefits do not rise to the level of a fundamental right, 44 the view that such benefits are critical to those eligible for them remains ensconced in contemporary jurisprudence. 45 B. Welfare Administrators' Failures to Comply with the Law Reported cases document egregious cases of welfare administrators' noncompliance with applicable law. In actions challenging delays in processing applications for public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid, defendants failed to [*291] comply with the law up to ninety percent of the time. 46 Defendants have failed to properly process recertifications up to one-third of the time. 47 In some cases, the defendants have failed to timely conduct and implement fair hearing decisions over half of the time. 48 Welfare reform increased the risks of noncompliance with the law by pressuring welfare administrators to reduce the welfare rolls, 49 sometimes with little regard to what happens to clients after leaving welfare. 50 The story of welfare [*292] reform in New York City clearly demonstrates this threat to welfare rights, as in some cases up to ninety percent of welfare applicants were denied benefits, prompting concern that benefits were denied as a matter of course. 51 All across the country, pressures on state and local budgets continue to threaten access to welfare programs. At the same time, the law is not merely aspirational. For example, even one instance of discontinuing food

1AC – Structural Inequality (2/3)


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stamps without notice violates the law. 52 While some courts have held administrators to only a "substantial compliance" standard, 53 the prevalent view is that welfare administrators must comply with the law in all instances. 54 To sustain a class action, [*293] however, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that the violations be more than just isolated. 55 Administrators fall short in ensuring that welfare programs comply with the law for several complicated reasons. Factors include low staff pay and understaffing, 56 administrators' failure to invest in management systems, the lack of political power of the poor to demand reform, 57 and the dysfunction inherent within government bureaucracies. 58 But to those who depend on welfare, the reasons for administrative failure are irrelevant. What matters is that the failure is harmful and violates the law. C. A "Simple" Welfare Rights Litigation Model In theory, when welfare administrators systemically violate the law, challenging the failure in court should be straightforward. In broad terms, an attorney can file a class action lawsuit against the administrative agency, determine through discovery the extent of the defendant's noncompliance with the applicable law, and prevail at trial or through settlement if the noncompliance is sufficiently widespread. Federal food stamp law can illustrate this "simple" model. 59 The statute and regulations require welfare administrators to process food stamp applications within thirty [*294] days. 60 Food stamp administrators, however, often fail to process applications within the time frame. 61 Under a simple litigation model, when a welfare rights attorney learns that a program is systemically failing to timely process food stamp applications, 62 the attorney can file a class action lawsuit challenging the failure. As part of discovery, the attorney can force the defendant to produce any statistics it maintains concerning the alleged violation. 63 In the absence of relevant, reliable statistics obtainable through discovery, the attorney can conduct a statistically sound survey to determine the level of the defendant's compliance. 64 If the produced statistics or the plaintiffs' survey documents a sufficient level of violations, 65 then the court should certify the class and rule in the plaintiffs' favor. Regardless of what specific relief the court ultimately grants to the plaintiffs, their attorney can collect fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. $ S 1988 since the clients are a prevailing party. These fees will reimburse the attorney's organization for the attorney's time and the suit's costs, and might even include surplus fees when the attorney works for a nonprofit. 66 [*295] Moreover, even with the deregulation of the TANF program 67 and the Supreme Court's curtailment of the rights enforceable under 42 U.S.C. $ S 1983, 68 this litigation model remains available to remedy violations of the law for all welfare programs. These TANF and Supreme Court restrictions only affect the enforcement of statutory and regulatory rights, 69 not the due process interests so frequently at issue in the administration of the public assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid programs. 70 To protect those interests, the due process clause requires that the government administer its welfare programs fairly under the applicable federal and state law. 71 Because it exemplifies unfair and arbitrary decision making, any systemic failure to comply with the relevant law violates due process. 72 Yet despite the [*296] existence of an enforceable right and a potential litigation vehicle, violations persist. D. Too Few Lawyers: Inadequate Funding for Nonprofits One explanation for the relative dearth of welfare rights litigation is that those organizations that pursue it are severely underfunded. To meet their budgets and pay their staff, nonprofits that engage in welfare rights litigation must continually cobble together funding from federal, state, and local governments, private law firms, foundations, individuals, and other sources. 73 Individual welfare rights attorneys can supplement this institutional funding with grants from sources such as fellowships 74 and Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs). 75 All of these resources combined, however, cannot meet the demand for free legal services. 76 [*297] In addition, Congress prohibited any organization funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) 77 from participating in class actions 78 as part of the comprehensive and punitive restrictions imposed on LSC-funded organizations in 1996. 79 A substantial number of poverty lawyers work for organizations funded through the LSC. 80 Thus, this restriction severely limited the pool of nonprofit attorneys who can pursue welfare rights class action litigation

1AC – Structural Inequality (3/3)


Lack of access to class action litigation perpetuates cycles of structural inequality
Joshua D. Blank (Associate at Harvard Law) and Eric A. Zacks (Associate at the University of Michigan) 2005: Dismissing the Class: A Practical Approach to the Class Action Restriction on the Legal Services Corporation. Penn State Law Review. Lexis
In the past, the class action device has been used effectively to enforce the rights and claims of the poor. __n46__ In the context of the disabled [*11] poor, the ability of LSC-funded legal services providers to litigate class actions is especially important because the disabled are often unable to assert their legal rights individually. As one commentator asserted, "when the plaintiff is poor, marginalized, legally incompetent, ignorant of legal rights, or unable to assert rights for fear of sanctions or otherwise, and these disabilities are shared by others similarly situated, the class action may be the only effective means to obtain judicial relief." __n47__ Poor children have also benefited from class action lawsuits filed on their collective behalf. For example, Gordon Bonnyman, Managing Attorney at the Tennessee Justice Center, noted how a class action filed on behalf of children who were also Medicaid recipients forced the reform of the state's administration of medical services to the poor. __n48__ A similar class action forced the Tennessee welfare program to institute quality control devices that diminished the number of poor families that lost their state welfare benefits by fifty percent. __n49__ Mr. Bonnyman concluded that "it was the combination of class action litigation, sophisticated legislative and administrative advocacy, and close collaboration with community groups, that made possible these important gains for [his] clients."

This structural inequality is the worst form of violence
Gilligan, Former Director of Psychiatry at Massachusetts State Prison, 1996,
(James Psychiatrist, Former Director of Psychiatry at Massachusetts State Prison, worked in the criminal justice system for many years. M.D Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School)

The deadliest form of violence is poverty. Any approach to a theory of violence needs to begin with a look at the structural violence. The lethal effects of structural violence operate continuously whereas wars, and other forms of behavior violence occur one at a time.The 14 to 19 million deaths a year caused by structural violence compare with about 100,000 deaths per year from armed conflict.and even a hypothetical nuclear exchange war cannot begin to compare with structural violence, which continues year after year.Every fifteen years as many people die because of relative poverty as would be killed by the Nazi genocide of the Jews over a six-year period.This is, the equivalent of an ongoing, unending, and accelerating, thermonuclear war, or genocide, perpetrated on the weak and poor every year of every decade, throughout the world. Structural violence is also the main cause of behavioral violence on a socially and epidemiologicaly significant scale.

1AC – Environmental Justice (1/4)


Contention ( 5 ) : Environmental Justice

Disadvantaged communities lack the necessary legal resources to reject polluting industries
Meagan Elizabeth Tolentino Garland 07; Garland - Attorney, Baker & McKenzie, LLP, San Diego. The author conducted the research and writing for this article in 2005 while a student at Boston College Law School; “Addressing Environmental justice in criminal sentencing process: are environmental justice communities “vulnerable victims” under 3A1.1(B)(1) of the federal sentencing guidelines in the post united states v. booker era?” Albany Law Environmental Outlook Journal, http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/ lnacademic/results/docview/ docview.do?docLinkInd=true& risb=21_T7006030731&format= GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE& startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_ T7006030734&cisb=22_ T7006030733&treeMax=true& treeWidth=0&csi=221806&docNo= 10
Courts have looked to the victim(s)' level of sophistication (e.g., legal, financial, political resources available to them when dealing with the defendant) to assess requisite vulnerability. __n230__ In United States v. Esterman, the court rejected the prosecution's claim that the victim's limited command of English rendered him [*39] unsophisticated and therefore vulnerable. __n231__ The court found that the victim had a plethora of resources available to him despite his inability to speak English. __n232__ In fact, the court concluded that the victim, "upon learning that Esterman was siphoning funds ... , had no trouble promptly dispatching a deputy and exploring a variety of self-help options for a full three months before turning to the police and the courts." __n233__ The court further reasoned that true vulnerable victims do not have henchmen at their beck and call; they do not persuade those who have defrauded them to sign promissory notes; nor do they flout the possibility of contract-killings with third parties, and then file police and civil complaints when payments on the note are not made. __n234__ Conversely, a jury hearing a case involving a victimized EJ community could consider the fact that most EJ communities do not have the legal or political resources available to pose a "credible threat" much less "take political or legal action" as mentioned in the survey of 200 corporate officials. __n235__ Further, a court could reason that "without ... technical or political sophistication ... poor and minority communities are more attractive as sites [for LULUs and hazardous wastes facilities] than white and affluent communities." __n236__ In fact, it is settled that many EJ communities do "not have sufficient resources to pay for the scientific expertise necessary to realizing the potential presented by environmental laws [and] ... [do] not have sufficient legal resources necessary to realizing the potential presented by environmental laws." __n237__ Consequently, meaningful community involvement in matters involving polluters is not a reality in many EJ communities. __n238__ In other cases, courts looked to the victim(s)' lack of knowledge in a particular area (e.g., finance) and determined that an "overwhelming" lack of sophistication in a particular area may contribute to the victim's vulnerability. __n239__ Similarly, because of [*40] the lack of legal sophistication or access to legal counsel, many EJ communities lack the force to reject LULUs and polluting industries in their communities as a result of the NIMBY phenomenon. __n240__ Moreover, the fact that most hazardous waste facilities and LULUs are pushed out of communities inhabited by the general population and into EJ communities is evidence that the general population, unlike many EJ communities, have more resources to avoid these offenses. __n241__ Accordingly, many EJ communities neither have the "self-help" options available, nor the "henchmen at their beck and call" to mount a strong defense against potential polluters. __n242__ As Jeffery Cluett points out in his article, Two Sides of the Same Coin: Hazardous Waste Siting on Indian Reservations and in Minority Communities: Political and economic resources are inextricably intertwined with environmental activism and the ability to get results. "Those ... who have greater access, who know how to tweak their Congress-people to do something, are more likely to get the attention of very busy people. And the people with greater know-how are generally those with greater political and economic resources... . ' __n243__ A jury and judge could likely be persuaded that EJ communities facing issues of historic non-inclusion and lack of meaningful involvement in important decision making processes are precisely the vulnerable victims section 3A1.1(b)(1) protects. __n244__ In fact, according to the court in United States v. Parolin, the ""vulnerable victim' sentencing enhancement is intended to reflect the fact that some potential crime victims have a lower than average ability to protect themselves from the [*41] criminal."

1AC – Environmental Justice (2/4)

Lack of environmental justice is akin to environmental racism and ensures global ecological collapse and the total destruction of humanity.
Bunyan Bryant, Professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and an adjunct professor in the Center for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan, 1995, Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies, and Solutions, p. 209-212
Although the post-World War II economy was designed when environmental consideration was not a problem, today this is no longer the case; we must be concerned enough about environmental protection to make it a part of our economic design. Today, temporal and spatial relations of pollution have drastically changed within the last 100 years or so. A hundred years ago we polluted a small spatial area and it took the earth a short time to heal itself. Today we pollute large areas of the earth – as evidenced by the international problems of acid rain, the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, nuclear meltdowns, and the difficulties in the safe storage of spent fuels from nuclear power plants. Perhaps we have embarked upon an era of pollution so toxic and persistent that it will take the earth in some areas thousands of years to heal itself. To curtail environmental pollutants, we must build new institutions to prevent widespread destruction from pollutants that know no geopolitical boundaries. We need to do this because pollutants are not respectful of international boundaries; it does little good if one country practices sound environmental protection while its neighbors fail to do so. Countries of the world are intricately linked together in ways not clear 50 years ago; they find themselves victims of environmental destruction even though the causes of that destruction originated in another part of the world. Acid rain, global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, nuclear accidents like the one at Chernobyl, make all countries vulnerable to environmental destruction. The cooperative relations forged after World War II are now obsolete. New cooperative relations need to be agreed upon – cooperative relations that show that pollution prevention and species preservation are inseparably linked to economic development and survival of planet earth. Economic development is linked to pollution prevention even though the market fails to include the true cost of pollution in its pricing of products and services; it fails to place a value on the destruction of plant and animal species. To date, most industrialized nations, the high polluters, have had an incentive to pollute because they did not incur the cost of producing goods and services in a nonpolluting manner. The world will have to pay for the true cost of production and to practice prudent stewardship of our natural resources if we are to sustain ourselves on this planet. We cannot expect Third World countries to participate in debt-for-nature swaps as a means for saving the rainforest or as a means for the reduction of greenhouse gases, while a considerable amount of such gases come from industrial nations and from fossil fuel consumption. Like disease, population growth is politically, economically, and structurally determined. Due to inadequate income maintenance programs and social security, families in developing countries are more apt to have large families not only to ensure the survival of children within the first five years, but to work the fields and care for the elderly. As development increases, so do education, health, and birth control. In his chapter, Buttel states that ecological development and substantial debt forgiveness would be more significant in alleviating Third World environmental degradation (or population problems) than ratification of any UNCED biodiversity or forest conventions. Because population control programs fail to address the structural characteristics of poverty, such programs for developing countries have been for the most part dismal failures. Growth and development along ecological lines have a better chance of controlling population growth in developing countries than the best population control programs to date. Although population control is important, we often focus a considerable amount of our attention on population problems of developing countries. Yet there are more people per square mile in Western Europe than in most developing countries. “During his/her lifetime an American child causes 35 times the environmental damage of an Indian child and 280 times that of a Haitian child (Boggs, 1993: 1). The addiction to consumerism of highly industrialized countries has to be seen as a major culprit, and thus must be balanced against the benefits of population control in Third World countries. Worldwide environmental protection is only one part of the complex problems we face today. We cannot ignore world poverty; it is intricately linked to environmental protection. If this is the case, then how do we deal with world poverty? How do we bring about lasting peace in the world? Clearly we can no longer afford a South Africa as it was once organized, or ethnic cleansing by Serbian nationalists. These types of conflicts bankrupt us morally and destroy our connectedness with one another as a world community. Yet, we may be headed on a course where the politically induced famine, poverty, and chaos of Somalia today will become commonplace and world peace more difficult, particularly if the European Common Market, Japan, and the United States trade primarily among themselves, leaving Third World countries to fend for themselves. Growing poverty will lead only to more world disequilibrium to wars and famine – as countries become more aggressive and cross international borders for resources to ward off widespread hunger and rampant unemployment. To tackle these problems requires a quantum leap in global cooperation and commitment of the highest magnitude; it requires development of an international tax, levied through the United nations or some other international body, so that the world community can become more involved in helping to deal with issues of environmental protection, poverty, and peace. Since the market system has been bold and flexible enough to meet changing conditions, so too must public institutions. They must, indeed, be able to respond to the rapid changes that reverberate throughout the world. If they fail to change, then we will surely meet the fate of the dinosaur. The Soviet Union gave up a system that was unworkable in exchange for another one. Although it has not been easy, individual countries of the former Soviet Union have the potential of reemerging looking very different and stronger. Or they could emerge looking very different and weaker. They could become

1AC – Environmental Justice (3/4)
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societies that are both socially and environmentally destructive or they can become societies where people have decent jobs, places to live, educational opportunities for all citizens, and sustainable social structures that are safe and nurturing. Although North Americans are experiencing economic and social discomforts, we too will have to change, or we may find ourselves engulfed by political and economic forces beyond our control. In 1994, the out-sweeping of Democrats from national offices may be symptomatic of deeper and more fundamental problems. If the mean-spirited behavior that characterized the 1994 election is carried over into the governance of the country, this may only fan the flames of discontent. We may be embarking upon a long struggle over ideology, culture, and the very heart and soul of the country. But despite all the political turmoil, we must take risks and try out new ideas – ideas never dreamed of before and ideas we thought were impossible to implement. To implement these ideas we must overcome institutional inertia in order to enhance intentional change. We need to give up tradition and “business as usual.” To view the future as a challenge and as an opportunity to make the world a better place, we must be willing to take political and economic risks. The question is not growth, but what kind of growth, and where it will take place. For example, we can maintain current levels of productivity or become even more productive if we farm organically. Because of ideological conflicts, it is hard for us to view the Cuban experience with an unjaundiced eye; but we ask you to place political differences aside and pay attention to the lyrics of organic farming and not to the music of Communism. In other words, we must get beyond political differences and ideological conflicts; we must find success stories of healing the planet no matter where they exist – be they in Communist or non-Communist countries, developed or underdeveloped countries. We must ascertain what lessons can be learned from them, and examine how they would benefit the world community. In most instances, we will have to chart a new course. Continued use of certain technologies and chemicals that are incompatible with the ecosystem will take us down the road of no return. We are already witnessing the catastrophic destruction of our environment and disproportionate impacts of environmental insults on communities of color and low-income groups. If such destruction continues, it will undoubtedly deal harmful blows to our social, economic, and political institutions. As a nation, we find ourselves in a house divided, where the cleavages between the races are in fact getting worse. We find ourselves in a house divided where the gap between the rich and the poor has increased. We find ourselves in a house divided where the gap between the young and the old has widened. During the 1980s, there were few visions of healing the country. In the 1990s, despite the catastrophic economic and environmental results of the 1980s, and despite the conservative takeover of both houses of Congress, we must look for glimmers of hope. We must stand by what we think is right and defend our position with passion. And at times we need to slow down and reflect and do a lot of soul searching in order to redirect ourselves, if need be. We must chart out a new course of defining who we are as a people, by redefining our relationship with government, with nature, with one another, and where we want to be as a nation. We need to find a way of expressing this definition of ourselves to one another. Undeniably we are a nation of different ethnic groups and races, and of multiple interest groups, and if we cannot live in peace and in harmony with ourselves and with nature it bodes ominously for future world relations. Because economic institutions are based upon the growth paradigm of extracting and processing natural resources, we will surely perish if we use them to foul the global nest. But it does not have to be this way. Although sound environmental policies can be compatible with good business practices and quality of life, we may have to jettison the moral argument of environmental protection in favor of the self-interest argument, thereby demonstrating that the survival of business enterprises is intricately tied to good stewardship of natural resources and environmental protection. Too often we forget that short-sightedness can propel us down a narrow path, where we are unable to see the long-term effects of our actions. The ideas and policies discussed in this book are ways of getting ourselves back on track. The ideas presented here will hopefully provide substantive material for discourse. These policies are not carved in stone, nor are they meant to be for every city, suburb, or rural area. Municipalities or rural areas should have flexibility in dealing with their site-specific problems. Yet we need to extend our concern about local sustainability beyond geopolitical boundaries, because dumping in Third World countries or in the atmosphere today will surely haunt the world tomorrow. Ideas presented here may irritate some and dismay others, but we need to make some drastic changes in our lifestyles and institutions in order to foster environmental justice. Many of the policy ideas mentioned in this book have been around for some time, but they have not been implemented. The struggle for environmental justice emerging from the people of color and low-income communities may provide the necessary political impulse to make these policies a reality. Environmental justice provides opportunities for those most affected by environmental degradation and poverty to make policies to save not only themselves from differential impact of environmental hazards, but to save those responsible for the lion’s share of the planet’s destruction. This struggle emerging from the environmental experience of oppressed people brings forth a new consciousness – a new consciousness shaped by immediate demands for certainty and solution. It is a struggle to make a true connection between humanity and nature. This struggle to resolve environmental problems may force the nation to alter its priorities; it may force the nation to address issues of environmental justice and, by doing so, it may ultimately result in a cleaner and healthier environment for all of us. Although we may never eliminate all toxic materials from the production cycle, we should at least have that as a goal.

1AC – Environmental Justice (4/4)

Class action restrictions prevent disadvantaged communities from pursuing their environmental justice rights
Marya Rose, Managing Editor, Boston College Third World Law Journal, 1997 (BOOK REVIEW: Tort Reform for a Civilized Society? Implications of Tort Reform for Toxic Tort Lawsuits: A Civil Action.” Boston College Third World Law Journal. 17 B.C. Third World L.J. 133. Lexis
ZE)
Jonathan Harr may never have had a case to write about if the families in Woburn had not been able to file a class action suit. Through the class action device, all toxic tort victims can join together into a single lawsuit. 52 In a typical class action suit, a large class of persons [*139] who are similarly situated in regard to the case are represented by either a small group or a single member of the class. 53 Toxic torts are frequently ideal for joined litigation because they often involve "mass torts" in which large numbers of individuals are injured through the same pattern of events. 54 In fact, the majority of environmental cases are filed as class action suits. 55 One reason that environmental cases are often filed as class actions is that joinder of parties and joinder of claims enable plaintiffs in expensive cases to pool their resources with those of other plaintiffs facing the same problem. 56 Additionally, judicial efficiency is better served by joined or class actions. 57 When only one lawsuit is filed on behalf of all the victims of the pollution, the basic underlying facts are resolved only once, which reduces the court's workload. 58 Although the only current federal reform that expressly restricts class actions applies solely to shareholder suits, 59 less overt reforms have been successful in limiting the use of class actions by poor and minority people. The most obvious example of this trend is the attempt by the 104th Congress to eradicate the Legal Services Corporation. 60 While the Legal Services Corporation was not totally eliminated, an amendment to a spending bill now bars Legal Services lawyers from taking cases involving class actions. 61 Second, rules against aggregating disputed sums in order to meet minimum diversity requirements in federal court have discouraged the use of class actions. 62 These rules function to reduce court access 63 of plaintiffs from diverse jurisdictions who have individually small injuries, but collectively large ones. A third [*140] attack on the use of class actions is embodied in distribution of awards. 64 For example, in a recent California case, a superior court judge allowed a defendant to keep all the money that went unclaimed by members of the injured class, instead of requiring the unclaimed property to be turned over to the state as directed by statute. 65 Actions such as this dramatically shrink 66 the total award from which plaintiffs' attorneys may draw their contingency fees, thus further discouraging lawyers from bringing class action suits. 67 The viability of class actions is crucial to the success of toxic tort suits brought by poor plaintiffs. Without class actions, the first plaintiffs to bring suit may be the only ones to collect substantial punitive damages awards, an outcome which would affect the ability of other, equally deserving plaintiffs to recover for their injuries. 68 The risk that a "first come, first serve" model of distribution will deplete a finite pool of award money is illustrated in New Jersey, where the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, it is unfair to subject defendants to the possibility of multiple punitive damages awards for a single course of conduct. 69 More fundamentally, when injury to a client is not extensive, the nominal damages potentially available to that client may not justify the extensive legal work required to litigate a toxic tort claim. 70 Realistically, a class action may be the only way to economically justify the litigation. 71 For Anne Anderson and the other plaintiffs in the Woburn case, the availability of class action status was critical for success. If the plaintiffs had each been forced to bring separate suits and had not chosen to settle, Judge Skinner could have awarded punitive damages only to the first plaintiff. 72 Additionally, the amount of potential damages to one of the families, as opposed to all of the families in the [*141] aggregate, probably would not have attracted any lawyer to the case. 73 Finally, not being able to pool either existing resources or anticipated recoveries would have precluded the families from funding the studies and hiring the experts they needed in order to prove complicated causation issues.






































1AC – Solvency (1/2)
Contention 6: Solvency
Class action lawsuits provide essential rights to the poor and deter future exploitations
Katie Meinick 08; Katie is a J.D. Candidate at St. John’s University; “In Defense of the Class action lawsuit: and examination of the implicit advantages and a response to common criticisms” St. John’s Journal of Legal Commentary, http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/ lnacademic/results/docview/ docview.do?docLinkInd=true& risb=21_T7006030731&format= GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE& startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_ T7006030734&cisb=22_ T7006030733&treeMax=true& treeWidth=0&csi=143887&docNo= 11
Historically it has been the plaintiffs who have supported and utilized the class action. __n185__ The device is popular among injured [*788] plaintiffs because it allows them to pool their claims and bring an action even when a single plaintiff alone has not sustained a substantial enough injury to warrant the underlying action. __n186__ Similarly the class action device gives plaintiffs a sort of strength in numbers mentality. __n187__ Alone, facing the big businesses of the world can be daunting; and yet, as one in a group of injured plaintiffs, this daunting task becomes more feasible. __n188__ In discussing the advantages of the class action for plaintiffs, the easiest place to start is the notion within the American justice system of ensuring equal access to justice. __n189__ The American legal system is heavily based on the philosophy that every injured party deserves his day in court. __n190__ It is with this objective in mind that the class action becomes integral. __n191__ Often in the class [*789] action scenario, a business or corporation has injured a large number of people in such a way that the "overall liability is large but the individual interests of the class members or corporate shareholders are small." __n192__ In such cases, it is only when the injury is taken in the aggregate that it becomes worth litigating. __n193__ The class action provides the mechanism by which the injured plaintiffs can pool their claims, and in doing so create an action that is worth pursuing. __n194__Additionally, the class action can be used as a means through which to enforce the rights of the poor. __n195__ "When the plaintiff is poor, marginalized, legally incompetent, ignorant of legal rights, or unable to assert rights for fear of sanctions or otherwise, and these disabilities are shared by others similarly situated, the class action may be the only effective means to obtain judicial relief." __n196__ This ability to represent the poor becomes apparent in the willingness of class action lawyers to represent classes on a contingency fee basis. __n197__ Such a fee arrangement allows even indigent parties to obtain a lawyer to vindicate their rights because [*790] they do not have to pay the attorney until they themselves recover. __n198__ While access to the courts is undeniably important, some argue that class action litigation is a waste of judicial time especially when the parties have not sustained serious enough injuries to bring individual actions. __n199__ These arguments fail to recognize the benefits such litigation provides to the community as a whole and not simply the benefits it provides to individual plaintiffs. __n200__ In many ways the class action can eliminate power imbalances that would otherwise exist in the face of such claims. __n201__ Through the class action, plaintiffs are able to pool their claims and thereby increase the defendant's potential liability. __n202__ Additionally, the pooling of claims ensures that even small claims get litigated - claims that would go un-litigated were it not for the class action. __n203__ In fact, one of the reasons many big businesses and corporations oppose the class action so vehemently is because they are aware that it would not be cost effective for many of the class action claimants to pursue their claims without the benefit of the [*791] other members of the class. __n204__ Therefore, without the class action device, many businesses would arguably be able to escape answering for their wrong-doings until they injured someone so substantially that it became cost effective for the injured victim to pursue the claim individually. __n205__ The use of the class action as a means to regulate businesses and to force them to answer for their wrong-doings, no matter how small, has given birth to the private attorney general. __n206__ The private attorney general is someone who sues "to vindicate the public interest." __n207__ Lawyers who have deputized themselves as private attorney generals serve a very important purpose within the legal system. __n208__ Such lawyers represent classes not only to ensure that the victims are duly compensated, but also to deter certain behavior within society at large. __n209__ By soliciting and representing [*792] injured claimants against larger businesses, these attorneys are increasing the resources allocated to the "detection and prosecution of prohibited behaviors." __n210__ This increase in resources simultaneously increases the likelihood that a business will be closely regulated and subsequently held accountable for any illicit behavior. __n211__ The benefits of the class action device to individual plaintiffs are multi-faceted. First, the device allows

1AC – Solvency (2/2)

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plaintiffs to make their way into the court-room even when they have been injured only minimally. __n212__ This access to the courts not only allows more claims to be litigated, but also CAUSES BUSINESSES TO BE MORE AWARE OF THEIR BEHAVIOR. __n213__ As more claims are filtered into the courtroom, it becomes more likely that a business will be forced to answer for any injures it has caused. __n214__ As plaintiffs' attorneys deputize themselves as private attorney generals, they serve the important purpose of supplementing the governmental regulation of business, again deterring illicit behavior on the part of big [*793] business. __n215__ This circle of regulation works to compensate and deter, proving advantageous not only to the plaintiffs themselves, but also to society as a whole, which benefits from the increased regulation of the businesses world. __n216__