Coalition Urges Congress Not to Confirm Sharon Browne to Legal Services Corporation Board

UPDATE2: New posts on Huffington Post and Think Progress.

UPDATE: Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle covers the opposition to Browne in a Feb. 3, 2010, article and join us for a Feb. 11 briefing by Alliance for Justice on the Browne nomination.

A coalition of more than seventy civil rights, women’s rights, consumer, fair housing and legal organizations – including the Equal Justice Society – this week sent a letter to Congress urging the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee to reject the nomination of Sharon Browne to the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”).

“Sharon Browne’s nomination is highly troubling because she has spent her entire career advocating against the very constituencies the Legal Services Corporation serves, said Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice.   “After extensively reviewing her record, I have seen nothing to indicate that she is committed to supporting women, people of color, or the poor – the very people LSC was created to support.”

When creating the LSC, Congress established that members of the legal services board should be committed to the development of legal assistance for the poor and supportive of the principal that this population have access to adequate and effective legal services.

Eva Paterson of the Equal Justice Society indicated, “At a time when inadequate funding means that legal services turns away nearly half of those who seek its help, LSC needs leadership from those dedicated to its core mission:  serving society’s neediest.”

“Sharon Browne’s nomination defies the basic criteria that Congress established in identifying LSC board members,” continued Paterson.  “She would not contribute to making the LSC board representative of those who provide, use, and support legal services.  She is not committed to keeping politics out of the LSC’s work.  And, her track record reveals a long history of political efforts against the LSC’s basic mission of providing equal justice for the poor.”

“AFJ and the more than 70 organizations who have signed onto this letter urge Congress and the HELP committee to reject Browne’s nomination and ask that another nominee – with a personal and professional commitment to providing equal justice for the poor – be identified,” concluded Nan Aron.

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