Mar. 23 – This week marks the 40th anniversary of one of Justice Brennan’s greatest legacies, the Goldberg v. Kelly decision, a case nominally about procedural due process but, at its heart, about dignity and fairness for all when dealing with their government. Goldberg established that individuals could not be deprived of government benefits without notice and an opportunity to make their case at a fair hearing. The decision, of which Justice Brennan was reportedly the most proud, was animated by real-life concern for those who struggled “in the face of … 'brutal need.'”
“Thus the crucial factor in this context . . . is that termination of aid pending resolution of a controversy over eligibility may deprive an eligible recipient of the very means by which to live while he waits. Since he lacks independent resources, his situation becomes immediately desperate. His need to concentrate upon finding the means for daily subsistence, in turn, adversely affects his ability to seek redress from the welfare bureaucracy.” – Justice Brennan
Our Access to Justice project builds upon this legacy to promote equal access to courts and bureaucracies that render life-changing decisions every day.
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