Louisiana Mulls Bill To Quash Tulane's Environmental Law Clinic

"BATON ROUGE, LA.  -- Law clinics at universities across Louisiana fear a state senator's proposal could force them to close, leaving their impoverished clients without free legal services in cases ranging from child support to water pollution.

Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, said he's heard those concerns and plans to put limits on the legislation.

Both sides acknowledge the measure is aimed at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, which Adley and business lobbyists say has driven jobs from the state. The clinic's supporters argue its lawyers help community groups hold state and federal regulators accountable, to make sure they comply with pollution laws.

As it now stands, the bill -- scheduled for a Wednesday hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee -- would prevent all university law clinics from challenging government agencies in court, suing individuals for damages or making constitutional claims. That would limit access to justice for thousands of low-income Louisianians and prevent law schools from providing students with a complete legal education, legal experts argue."

Sonia Smith reports for the Associated Press May 10, 2010.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010