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Case Name Velazquez v. Legal Services Corp IM-NY-0031
Docket / Court 97-CV-182 (FB) ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
Plaintiff lawyers, indigent clients, and grantees filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleging that government restrictions on the activities of organizations who accepted federal funds distributed by the Legal Services Corporation ("LSC") were ... read more >
Plaintiff lawyers, indigent clients, and grantees filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleging that government restrictions on the activities of organizations who accepted federal funds distributed by the Legal Services Corporation ("LSC") were unconstitutional.

LSC was a federally-chartered nonprofit corporation created and funded by Congress to distribute federal funds to local legal assistance programs that provided basic legal services for the indigent. 42 U.S.C. § 2996b (a); see Legal Services Corporation Act of 1974. To ensure that federal funds were not diverted by recipients toward activities that Congress specifically desired not to subsidize, Congress placed certain restrictions on the funds. For instance, the LSC Act prohibited the use of funds for litigation concerning nontherapeutic abortions, political activity, criminal proceedings, secondary school desegregation, military desertion, or violations of the Selective Service statute. Additional restrictions were put in place by § 504 of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (1996 Act). Among the additional restrictions, the 1996 Act prohibited representation of certain aliens and litigating challenges to existing welfare law. The Act also forbade LSC recipients from using non-LSC funds for prohibited activity, although such activity by an affiliate not under the control of the recipient was allowed. The LCS issued regulations which interpreted and implemented the restrictions set out in the 1996 Act. See e.g., LSC's program integrity regulation, 45 C.F.R. § 1610.8.

Plaintiffs challenged the LCS' program integrity regulation and the 1996 Act's restrictions relating to a recipient's lobbying and welfare reform activities as violating the First Amendment.

The District Court (Judge Frederic Block) denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. Velazquez v. Legal Services Corp., 985 F.Supp. 323 (E.D.N.Y. 1997). Plaintiffs appealed. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Leval) reversed the denial of the preliminary injunction solely with respect to the restriction on challenging the constitutionality of existing welfare laws. In all other respects, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Velazquez v. Legal Servs. Corp., 164 F.3d 757 (2d Cir. 1999). Certiorari was granted in part. Legal Servs. Corp. v. Velazquez, 529 U.S. 1052 (2000).

The Supreme Court (Justice Kennedy) affirmed the Second Circuit, holding that the restriction which prohibited recipients of LSC funds from engaging in litigation to challenge the validity of existing welfare laws violated the First Amendment. The Court reasoned that the government could not design a subsidy to effect such a "serious and fundamental restriction on advocacy of attorneys and the functioning of the judiciary." Legal Servs. Corp. v. Velazquez, 531 U.S. 533 (2001). The Supreme Court declined to review the rest of the Second Circuit opinion. Legal Servs. Corp. v. Velazquez, 532 U.S. 903 (2001).

On remand to the District Court, plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction against defendant LSC to prevent enforcement of portions of LSC's program integrity regulation, 45 C.F.R. § 1610.8, and § 504 of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (1996 Act). In support of their request for injunctive relief, plaintiffs made the following challenges: (1) an "as-applied" challenge to the program integrity regulation under the First Amendment; (2) a facial challenge to the regulation and the 1996 Act on the grounds that they violated "fundamental principles of federalism" under the Tenth Amendment; and (3) a facial challenge under the First Amendment to the 1996 Act's restrictions on class action litigation, attorneys' fees, and soliciting clients.

The District Court granted partial injunctive relief as to the as-applied challenge to the program integrity regulation on First Amendment grounds. The District Court reasoned that the regulation created an undue burden on plaintiffs' right under the First Amendment to use non-federal funds to engage in constitutionally protected activity. Velazquez v. Legal Servs. Corp., 356 F. Supp. 2d 267 (E.D.N.Y. 2005); Velazquez v. Legal Servs. Corp., 349 F. Supp. 2d 566 (E.D.N.Y. 2004). The parties appealed.

On September 8, 2006, the Second Circuit vacated the grant of the partial preliminary injunction and remanded for further proceedings. It also ordered the District Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Tenth Amendment claims due to lack of standing. Servs. Corp. v. Legal Servs. Corp., 462 F.3d 219 (2d Cir. 2006). Certiorari was denied. Legal Servs. for N.Y.C. v. Legal Servs. Corp., 128 S. Ct. 44 (2007).

A status conference was held on September 24, 2008 to discuss how the remainder of the litigation would proceed. The Court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction on its remaining claims, and suggested that it hold an evidentiary hearing to adjudicate the remaining issues in the case.

On May 6, 2009, the parties stipulated to adjourn all proceedings, as the plaintiffs believed that Congress would enact that year new acts and statutes amending or repealing some or all of the challenged acts or statutes. The case remained adjourned until July 23, 2013, when the parties stipulated to voluntary dismissal of the case.

Dan Dalton - 01/04/2008
Dan Whitman - 11/16/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Bivens
Defendant(s) Legal Services Corp,
Legal Services for New York City
Plaintiff Description Lawyers employed by grantees of funding from Legal Services Corporation, indigent clients, and legislative contributors to LSC grantees challenging constitutionality of LSC restrictions
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2004 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links The Oyez Project, Legal Services Corp. v. Velazquez, 531 U.S. 533 (2001).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Feb. 28, 2001
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:97-cv-00182-FB (E.D.N.Y.) 07/23/2013
IM-NY-0031-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:01-cv-08371-FB (E.D.N.Y.) 07/23/2013
IM-NY-0031-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum & Order 12/22/1997 (985 F.Supp. 323) (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0031-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
USCA Opinion 01/07/1999 (164 F.3d 757)
IM-NY-0031-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 07/02/1999 (1999 U.S.App.LEXIS 15566)
IM-NY-0031-0008.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Order Granting Petition for Writ of Certiorari 04/03/2000 (529 U.S. 1052)
IM-NY-0031-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Supreme Court Order 08/28/2000 (530 U.S. 1295)
IM-NY-0031-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Supreme Court Decision 02/28/2001 (521 U.S. 533)
IM-NY-0031-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Denying Petition for Writ of Certiorari 03/05/2001 (532 U.S. 903)
IM-NY-0031-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum & Order 12/20/2004 (349 F.Supp.2d 566) (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0031-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Supplemental Memorandum and Order 02/22/2005 (356 F.Supp.2d 267) (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0031-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
USCA Opinion 09/08/2006 (462 F.3d 219)
IM-NY-0031-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Block, Frederic (E.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0031-0001 | IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-9000 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Cardamone, Richard J. (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Gibson, John R. (W.D. Mo., Eighth Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0003
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Jacobs, Dennis G. (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0003
Kennedy, Henry Harold Jr. (D.D.C.) [Magistrate]
IM-NY-0031-0010
Leval, Pierre Nelson (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0003
McLaughlin, Joseph Michael (E.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0005
O'Connor, Sandra Day (SCOTUS)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Rehnquist, William Hubbs (SCOTUS)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Scalia, Antonin (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0009
Souter, David Hackett (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Stevens, John Paul (SCOTUS, Seventh Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Thomas, Clarence (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-NY-0031-0009 | IM-NY-0031-0010
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abel, Laura K. (New Jersey)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-0005
Bahler, Michael F. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0004
Diller, Rebekah (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Drayton, Joseph M. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-9000 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Fishbein, Peter M. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0001 | IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-9000
Goldberg, Deborah A. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0003
Kneedler, Edwin S. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0010
Llewellyn, Paul C. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9000
Neuborne, Burt (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0001 | IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-0010 | IM-NY-0031-9000
Popolow, Jonathan A. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9001
Rosenkranz, E. Joshua (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-9000
Rothman, Alan E. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-9000
Scholer, Kaye (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0003
Siegel, Craig (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Tirschwell, Eric Anders (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9001
Udell, David S. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Ascher, Stephen L. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0001 | IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-0005
Hersh, Allison Joy (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9000
Kane, Rachel (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9000
Levine, Alan (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0001 | IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-0010 | IM-NY-0031-9000
Licten, Rachel Gordon (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0002
Markowitz, Jeffrey S. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0001
Mauskopf, Roslynn Renee (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Nacinovich, Anne (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0004
Sims, Charles S. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9000
Weider, Stephen A. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0001 | IM-NY-0031-0003
Won, Karen K. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-9000
Other Lawyers Brown, Jason (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Carter, Zachary W. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0003
Collette, Matthew M. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0005
Duffy, James J. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Hafetz, Jonathon L. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Herwig, Barbara L. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0003 | IM-NY-0031-0005
Hunger, Frank W. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0003
Johnston, Richard A. (Massachusetts)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Kendall, George H. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Kirschner, William R. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-9000 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Lepley, Richard G (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-9000 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Liss, James D. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Lobue, Joseph W. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-9000 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Lustberg, Lawrence S. (New Jersey)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Nash, Rachel (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Preston, Stephen W. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0003
Quarles, James L. III (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0002 | IM-NY-0031-0004 | IM-NY-0031-9000 | IM-NY-0031-9001
Wilson, Elizabeth A. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-0005
Windels, James H.R. (New York)
IM-NY-0031-0005 | IM-NY-0031-9000
Womack, Eric R. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0031-9000

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