Tags: Barack Obama | Trump Administration | justice department | attorney general | lawyers | legal aid

NYT: Obama-Era Legal Aid Office Effectively Shut Down

Image: NYT: Obama-Era Legal Aid Office Effectively Shut Down
Former Barack Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 01 February 2018 05:52 PM

The Justice Department has quietly sidelined an Obama-era office dedicated to making legal aid accessible to people who could not afford lawyers, The New York Times reported.

According to the Times, the Office for Access to Justice started in 2010 as an initiative under former Attorney General Eric Holder, but never gained much visibility within the Justice Department.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cannot close the office without notifying the Congress, but he can move its resources elsewhere, the Times noted — and now the initiative's offices sit empty on the third floor of the Justice Department building, two unnamed sources told the Times.

The staff of about a dozen also dwindled and left the department over the past few months, the sources told the Times. Maha Jweied, acting director of the department, left to start a consulting business, her LinkedIn profile shows, per the Times.

"Sessions' shutting down the Access to Justice Initiative sadly speaks for itself," Vanita Gupta, the chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department under former President Barack Obama, told the Times.

"Access to Justice was a recognition that the Justice Department's job was not just to prosecute cases, but to ensure justice in the system overall," she added.

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An Obama-era office dedicated to making legal aid accessible to people who could not afford lawyers has quietly been sidelined by the Justice Department under the Trump administration, The New York Times reported.
justice department, attorney general, lawyers, legal aid
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2018-52-01
Thursday, 01 February 2018 05:52 PM
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