Jim Harbaugh Calls Out Trump's Proposed Budget Cut for Legal Aid to the Poor

Harbaugh was named to the Legal Services Corporation's Leaders Council last year.
February 28, 2017, 5:02pm
When the President wants to make it harder for poor people to get a fair shake in court. Photo by Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Donald Trump is reportedly considering the elimination of the Legal Services Corporation, a publicly funded but independently run nonprofit organization established by Congress in 1974 to provide legal assistance for low-income Americans, in his 2017 budget. This has put the President at odds with a surprising opponent: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

I hope reports that White House trying to defund Legal Services Corp aren't true. LSC is CRUCIAL to making justice system fair. #LSCmatters
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 28, 2017

The right to defense council is one of the bedrock principles of American jurisprudence—it's Amendment VI in the Constitution, for those keeping track—but what does any of this have to do with a college football coach? A great deal, as it turns out. Harbaugh was named to the LSC's Leaders Council in 2016, along with famous legal minds like former Attorney General Eric Holder, with the goal of raising funds and awareness.

"The first step to more funding is more awareness," LSC president James Sandman told the American Lawyer at the time it was announced. "If Jim Harbaugh would simply speak on the issue [of the legal aid crisis] it would be heard differently." Well, the coach is holding up his end of the bargain. He's speaking on the issue, and calling out the White House.

For a man best known for his khakis, Jim Harbaugh is surprisingly woke.

(Fun fact: In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter nominated a former campaign staffer to the LSC board of directors, who became the board chair the next year. Her name was Hillary Rodham Clinton.)