A voice for legal aid to the poor is silencedF. William McCalpin, one of the earliest advocates and most vocal defenders of the Legal Services Corporation, a federal program that has provided legal aid to millions of poor people, died Dec. 9 at his home in St. Louis. He was 88.
McCalpin butted heads with the Reagan administration when it sought to eliminate the program he had long championed.
Eliminating the program, he said, would amount to a denial of the nation’s commitment to equal justice under law, “putting a price tag on justice, just like a Cadillac or a yacht.”
Congress restored the corporation’s financing.
“Early on in his legal career, he was assigned poor clients by the courts,” William McCalpin said of his father. “I remember one client, Gerald Thomas, who served time for burglary. My father bought Christmas presents, and we took them over to the family. He thought there should be a more organized way to represent poor people.”
Read The New York Times obituary here.