New York's chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, has been holding hearings on an expansive new idea: establishing a right to an attorney so that, courtesy of taxpayers, low-income New Yorkers can have free legal representation in a wide range of cases from evictions to divorces to job and welfare disputes and more. But such a program will not have the results Judge Lippman and other well-meaning advocates desire.
Read the whole thing. Unfortunately, the headline somewhat misstates my views: I don't oppose giving the poor free attorneys in all situations (as the oped itself makes clear), just the idea that there is a "right" to a free attorney at taxpayer expense in a civil case. More on the Lippman hearings: NY Daily News; WSJ; NYT. None of the press accounts have mentioned how one-sided the "hearings" are; show-trial rallies are more like it. More detail on my opposition to civil Gideon, plus my appearance at a CAP/ACS panel.