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Abstract: In 1981, the Reagan administration proposed the elimination of the federally-funded Legal Services Corporation (LSC), sparking an intense and ideologically bitter fight in Congress between pro- and anti-LSC forces. Part A gives a brief history of Reagan's gubernatorial experience with Legal Services, explores the case for and against LSC, and follows the battle over LSC's authorization bill in the House, with attention to the roles of the anti-LSC New Right and LSC's independent outside lobbyist-supporters. Part B chronicles the actions of the White House-appointed LSC board in managing the refunded corporation.
Learning Objective: The purpose of Part A and its sequel is to show how complex ideological disputes boil down in Congress to authorization and appropriation issues, and to sketch the role of legislative tactics and interest groups in the legislative process. The purpose of Part B is to highlight, through an account of a management failure, the importance of personal and political sensitivity in public sector management. The case also shows how the appointment and confirmation process affects how much, and what kind of, power the executive and legislative branches exercise over a body like the LSC.