Cleveland to Donald Trump – the rule of law is worth the fight: Steve Dettelbach

With a small staff, Legal Aid secures economic and social justice for our most vulnerable neighbors -- who too often struggle to get a fair shake.
Op-Ed (Ohio)

Steve Dettelbach
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)
November 20, 2016

Tags: Justice for All

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society of Cleveland


Right below the surface, one of the critical issues in this election was the rule of law. Will all of us be secure in legal protections enshrined in our Constitution, or will our most vulnerable neighbors fear their rights are at risk?

It’s not that our laws are changing, but rather whether those laws are merely words, or are real for everyone. That distinction has always depended on people being willing to stand up and fight for them. And that fight is not always easy.

Just take a couple examples:

Fred Walsh contacted the Legal Aid Society after being denied unemployment benefits because of a ruling that he “quit” his job. The catch is that Walsh’s job required him to work on scaffolds without safety barriers, putting him at risk every day. Legal Aid fought for Mr. Walsh and was able to show that he had reasonable safety concerns. A hearing officer awarded Walsh back payments and a stipend while he looks for a new job.

Legal Aid didn’t label Walsh; they fought for his rights against a system that did not listen or care.