Montana Chief Justice Calls for Civil Gideon
Thought I'd share this interesting piece, Ensuring the Promise of our Constitution, by Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Karla Gray. She's essentially urging for Civil Gideon in Montana, then laying out what is being done right now and what needs to be done to fill the gap in access to representation there. From the article:
The U.S. Constitution requires that all people receive the equal protection of the laws. “Equal Justice Under Law” appears over the main entry to the U.S. Supreme Court in our nation’s capitol. If folks cannot reasonably access their courts, I believe it goes without saying that equal protection of the laws and equal justice under law will remain empty promises.
Sadly, many Montanans have – as a practical matter – little or no realistic hope of obtaining equal justice. I speak of our friends and neighbors who are on the edge financially and simply cannot afford to hire an attorney. I think most often of the mother or father trying to manage a divorce or a parenting issue with no knowledge of the law or court proceedings. I think of the single parent threatened with eviction who has no idea what her or his rights are, or where to turn next. While courts exist to resolve disputes, ways must be found to provide adequate access to those courts – and to justice – for low-income Montanans. We can’t get there overnight, but we must get there. And the only way to get there is for every person – and every entity – who believes that equal justice means equal justice for all, not just for the wealthy, to work together in providing a variety of resources to low-income Montanans with legal problems.
There's an interesting dialogue beginning in the comments section too.