National Center for Law and Economic Justice

NCLEJ was founded in 1965, in the heyday of the civil rights movement. From the very start, NCLEJ joined with southern civil rights lawyers in landmark cases, worked with community-based organizations around the country, won ground breaking victories in the courts and committed resources to bring about legislative reform. Through these early successes, NCLEJ demonstrated that the law can be a powerful instrument for improving the lives of the most disadvantaged members of our society.

For the past 50 years, NCLEJ has led the way in promoting economic justice, fairness and opportunity for those in need; securing systemic reform in the delivery of income support and related human services; and safeguarding important legal and constitutional rights. Our mission today continues to be to advance the cause of economic justice for individuals, families, and communities through litigation, policy advocacy, and support for grass roots organizing.

THE CASE: In the ground-breaking litigation to enforce the preliminary injunction requiring Connecticut to timely provide food stamps to eligible households, NCLEJ will work with local colleagues and advocate to (1) enforce the injunction which requires the State to timely process applications for food stamps and (2) prepare for trial on the merits. Here, we and our colleagues won a first of its kind victory at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals setting forth that the provisions of the Food Stamp Act under which we sued were federally enforceable by applicants.

During the grant period, we plan to use a variety of tools to compel timely processing of applications. We will leverage the experience acquired in comparable work in other states to achieve improvements in agency practices and to institute oversight that will serve both as a management tool and as a means of measuring progress. We expect considerable resistance as Connecticut has fought hard at every step of the case.

Contact: Marc Cohan, cohan@nclej.org