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Protecting and Advancing Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, & Social Justice
Equal Justice Under Law

One of the missions of Orpe Human Rights Advocates is to protect and advance the Individual Rights.  The organization serves as a voice for low-income or people living in poverty and protects and advances civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice. Created within the height of the civil rights movement, ORPE seeks to reflect the commitment to promoting, through the legal system, and social-economic empowerment the ideals of justice, freedom, and equality for all. Since its founding, ORPE has continued to fulfill its original purpose by raising and addressing the often complex and difficult civil rights and civil liberties issues that arise in a changing and diverse society. One of the issues at the center of its commitment is the "Equal Access to Justice under the law."

 

According to Deborah Rhode, director of the Stanford Center on Ethics, and Professor of Law at Stanford University, the doctrine of "Equal justice under law" is one of America's the most firmly embedded and widely violated legal principles. It is a rhetorical flourish commonly encountered in ceremonial rhetoric and occasionally even constitutional decisions. But it comes nowhere close to describing the justice system in practice. While this is not, of course, the only legal context in which rhetoric outruns reality, it is one of the most disturbing, given the fundamental nature of the rights at issue.

For example, America constitutes a nation with the most lawyers and at the same time is among nations which has the least adequate systems for legal assistance. It is shameful to say that nations' around the world have constitutions and legal systems that assert the "duties of care" in regard of poor, disadvantaged and underserved communities, but when it comes to the practice, inequities attract so little concern.  According to Rhode, in America, an estimated four-fifths of the legal needs of the poor, and the needs of two to three fifths of middle-income individuals, remain unmet. The sole United States, research indicates that over the last two decades, national spending on legal aid has been cut by a third, and increasing restrictions have been placed on the cases and clients that government-funded programs can accept. Entire categories of the "unworthy poor" have been denied assistance, and courts have largely acquiesced in these limitations, as well as in ludicrous limitations on fees for court appointed lawyers in criminal cases. The case law governing effective assistance of counsel and access to nonlawyer services is a conceptual embarrassment. 

ORPE programs of protecting and advancing civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice are tailored to  remind nations and their legal systems, about their responsibilities associated with their duties of care in regard of poor, and those people who cannot assert their own fundamental rights.

Under this initiative, our goal is to be able to confront governments where they are failing short in terms of application of the principle of "Equal Justice." Equal justice means, the existence of government willingness and good faith in providing framework of effective legal assistance.  The issue of equal justice encounters application odds at conceptual, doctrinal, political, or professional level. The objective ORPE Equal Justice programs is to explore the value of Equal Justice and use it as a strategic tool for a serious commitment to our programs of protecting and advancing civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice.