With 63 million Americans—including 22 million children—qualifying for assistance, LSC is the nation’s single largest provider of civil legal aid to citizens who live on incomes below or near the poverty line. Independent LSC-funded local programs, like Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, help meet the overwhelming legal needs of struggling families, veterans, disaster victims and the elderly in every state. In 2010, LSC-funded aid providers in Texasclosed nearly 67,000 cases including child custody matters, foreclosures and veterans claims.
Hutchison, who is retiring after 17 years of service in the Senate, was LSC’s champion on the Senate Appropriations Committee and held the line on LSC funding in the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012. Last year, Hutchison worked to prevent a potentially devastating $104.2 million (25.7 percent) proposed cut to the LSC budget of $404.2 million in fiscal year 2010. While the House of Representatives proposed funding LSC at $300 million, the Senate—thanks in large part to Hutchison—favored an allocation of $396 million. Ultimately, funding was set at $348 million.
Hutchison is also a co-sponsor of the ABA-supported Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act of 2012, legislation that would require prosecutors to disclose favorable information to the defendant in criminal proceedings brought by the U.S.
“Senator Hutchison has been a tireless advocate for access to justice issues as the top Republican on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee. Her decades of public service have been a great benefit for the people of Texas and the United States,” said ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III.
Hutchison will receive one of the six ABA Congressional Justice Awards that will be given as part of the ABA’s annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession. ABA Day 2012 brings distinguished lawyers from 50 states to Washington, D.C., to discuss issues such as funding for LSC, the Violence Against Women Act, and the collection of overdue state court-ordered fees.
Other recipients of the 2012 ABA Congressional Justice Award include Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7th), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY-5th).