Kia Franklin

Civil Gideon and Human Rights

Yesterday was Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So I thought I'd point you to yet another great post to check out, published by Kevin Hsu of the Opportunity Agenda.

Thinking about Kevin's post in reference to the movement for Civil Gideon, I think about the fact that these basic human needs can easily be articulated as human rights. When these needs/rights are at stake, isn't there room to argue that a person should, at minimum, have access to adequate legal representation to help them get the best advocacy possible? So do you think Civil Gideon should be granted based on a human rights framework? With the stakes being so high, this certainly sounds like a viable argument to me.

An excerpt from Kevin's post:

December 10 is Human Rights Day, which this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sixty years ago, in the wake of a decade of war, the world came together in the spirit of hope to declare in a single voice that there exists fundamental rights of dignity and fairness that every person, family, and community hold by virtue of their humanity, rights not granted by governments, but rather guaranteed to each of us as a core of our very existence. It is only by respecting these rights that we can establish justice, equality, and the opportunity for everyone to meet their full potential.

...Though the people of the United States took the first step to restoring human rights by delivering a clear mandate for change, hope, and dignity this year, advocates must take the next steps. The good news is that the public is on our side; our public opinion research shows that vast majorities of the American people support both the concept and the practical policy application of human rights across a range of issues. The time is now to raise the stakes in the human rights movement, to be explicit in using human rights language in our social justice work, and to challenge our representatives to recognize human rights as necessary to the American Dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (Keep Reading)

Go to the original blogpost to read the full article and to view links to helpful resources on the subject of Human Rights, all provided by the Opportunity Agenda.

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:05 AM, Dec 11, 2008 in Human rights
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Civil Gideon and lawyer job creation by rent seeking.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | December 11, 2008 3:33 PM

I think that "Civil Gideon" would be possible, in fact it already can be. Why should anyone be denied access to an attorney? The only thing that prevents them from having this access is the attorney's desire to be paid. Why not make having to take any client regardless of their ability to pay be part of liscensure for attorneys?

We struggle with providing medical care or "medical Gideon" every day. In medicine, we have EMTALA which means that no matter how trivial your problem, you must be seen in an ER and have your problem addressed or stabilized independent of your ability to pay. If you are on staff of a hospital, you must see and treat any patient when they present. If you refuse to see a patient or send it somewhere else, you are in violation of Federal Law. I suggest that the legal profession be regulated in the same manner.

You could also have each attorney carry insurance of $1,000,000 per occurence and allow this "civil gideon" to be open to lawsuits against attorneys. In this way all those who feel wronged by attorneys could have their day in court.

Posted by: throckmorton | December 14, 2008 8:42 PM

Dr. T: Reasonable. You are proposing legal ER's with EMTLA laws. The person who cannot read the credit card contract could wait, while the captured serial killer, in a heap of trouble, could be seen first. I could call a legal ambulance, in the form of a limousine, after my landlord refused to return my deposit.

The American people should be covered by universal legal coverage. It couldn't cost more than $two trillion. I think, we would have to import foreign legal grads to provide service for everyone.

If the lawyer wises up, and ends its self-dealt immunities, every case would generate another. As members of the ALI criticized this proposal, the same made by their own president in 1995, litigation explosion.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | December 14, 2008 9:48 PM

Hey Kia, thanks for the shout out. I think you're very right in thinking about access to courts as a human rights issue. I quote from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted to him by the constitution or by law.

I think it is clear that and effective remedy cannot exist without adequate representation. We should make efforts to think about civil and social justice issues as human rights.


Posted by: KevinH | December 16, 2008 9:08 PM