Non-profit

National Center for Law and Economic Justice

Website:

nclej.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

23-7311208

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $1,723,827
Expenses: $2,246,698
Assets: $1,939,819

Formation:

1965

Type:

Welfare Litigation Non-Profit

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) is a center-left legal advocacy organization that challenges restrictions on access to entitlement programs and trains local legal services advocates. The NCLEJ is best known for its work on the landmark 1970 Supreme Court case of Goldberg v. Kelly and has since been a prominent welfare litigation organization in state courts, particularly in New York. [1]

Founding and History

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) was founded in 1965 by attorney and legal scholar Edward Sparer. Originally known as Columbia University’s Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, NCLEJ was funded through a grant from the Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit established by Congress to provide funding for local legal aid organizations. [2]

As one of the first entitlement program litigation nonprofits in the country, the NCLEJ sought to emulate the successes and strategies of the civil rights movement. [3] Under Sparer’s leadership, the NCLEJ began to train thousands of legal services advocates across the country on how to contest state and local laws restricting entitlement programs. They also encouraged the usage of fair hearing campaigns, encouraging welfare recipients to lodge enough formal complaints to overwhelm the legal system. [4]

The NCLEJ’s first major Supreme Court victory came in 1968 with King v. Smith, when the Supreme Court struck down Alabama’s “substitute father” provision, which it used to deny welfare payments under the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. [5]

Its largest Supreme Court victory followed two years later in 1970 in the case of Goldberg v. Kelly. Goldberg v. Kelly ruled that states must provide welfare recipients with a pre-termination evidentiary hearing before discontinuing aid. [6] The decision is considered a landmark case in the welfare litigation field, as pre-termination evidentiary hearings are now required by every major entitlement program, including Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). [7]

In 1971, Henry Freedman, who helped to initiate the Goldberg v. Kelly case, became the organization’s executive director, a role that he held until stepping down in 2019. [8] A year after Freedman took over, the NCLEJ separated from Columbia University, becoming its own independent nonprofit. [9]

Other notable cases that the NCLEJ won in the Supreme Court include Bass v. Richardson, Moreno v. USDA, Murry v. USDA, and Califano v. Westcott, all cases which sought to expand entitlement program access. [10]

Present Activities

Following its loss of federal funding in 1995, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) has mostly focused on state-level litigation and legal service advocate training. Since the 1970s, the NCLEJ has been a prominent entitlement program litigation nonprofit, particularly in its home state of New York, where it has secured several expansions of Medicaid and other welfare benefits. [11]

In the early 2000s, the NCLEJ also expanded its litigation to include left-of-center racial justice and immigration work. In 2020 the NCLEJ accused the Buffalo Police Department of racial discrimination, and in the past, it has sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). [12]

Though the NCLEJ is technically nonpartisan, it frequently supports center-left and left-of-center policies and opposes conservative politicians and judges. It harshly criticized former President Donald Trump’s economic policies, his imposition of stronger work requirements for federal entitlement program recipients, and his appointment of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. [13] NCLEJ also supports the expansion of existing welfare programs, such as SNAP and Medicaid. [14]

Finances

The National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ)’s most recent publicly available financial filings from 2019 show total revenues of $1,723,927 and total expenses of $2,246,698. [15]

Leadership

The executive director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) is Dennis Parker, who has held his role since longtime executive director Henry Freedman stepped down in 2019. Prior to joining NCLEJ, Parker was director of the Racial Justice Program of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Parker’s hiring represented the NCLEJ’s recent intent to shift further towards issues of racial discrimination. [16] According to the NCLEJ’s most recent publicly available financial filings from 2019, Parker draws a yearly salary of $214,277. [17]

References

  1.  Doyle, Gene. “Fair Hearings Must Comply with Constitutionally Protected Due Process.” Fair Hearings Must Comply with Constitutionally Protected Due Process – Fair Hearing Resources. Accessed August 13, 2021. http://www.wnylc.com/kb_wnylc/entry/5/. ^
  2. Imig, Douglas Rowley. “Resource Mobilization and Survival Tactics of Poverty Advocacy Groups.” <i>The Western Political Quarterly</i> 45, no. 2 (1992): 501-20. Accessed August 13, 2021. doi:10.2307/448723. ^
  3. “History.” History – National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/history. ^
  4. William E. Forbath, Constitutional Welfare Rights: A History, Critique and Reconstruction, 69 Fordham L. Rev. 1821 (2001). Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol69/iss5/12 ^
  5. “History.” History – National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/history. ; “King v. Smith – 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128 (1968).” Community. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://www.lexisnexis.com/community/casebrief/p/casebrief-king-v-smith. ^
  6. “Goldberg v. Kelly.” Oyez. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://www.oyez.org/cases/1969/62. ^
  7. Doyle, Gene. “Fair Hearings Must Comply with Constitutionally Protected Due Process.” Fair Hearings Must Comply with Constitutionally Protected Due Process – Fair Hearing Resources. Accessed August 13, 2021. http://www.wnylc.com/kb_wnylc/entry/5/. ^
  8. “Freedman Fund Brochure.” NCLEJ. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FreedmanFund_brochure.pdf. ^
  9. “History.” History – National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/history. ^
  10. “History.” History – National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/history. ^
  11. “History.” History – National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/history. ^
  12. “Renewing the Fight against Discriminatory Policing in Buffalo.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice Renewing the Fight Against Discriminatory Policing in Buffalo Comments, April 24, 2020. https://nclej.org/news/suit-discriminatory-policing-buffalo. ; “Litigation.” Litigation – National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/litigation. ^
  13. “NCLEJ Condemns Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice NCLEJ Condemns Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court Comments, October 27, 2020. https://nclej.org/news/nclej-condemns-confirmation-of-amy-coney-barrett-to-supreme-court. ; “The Election of Our next President.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice The Election of Our Next President Comments, November 7, 2020. https://nclej.org/news/election-next-president. ; “NCLEJ Condemns the Trump Administration’s Executive Order Directing STRICTER Work Requirements in Public Benefits Programs.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice NCLEJ Condemns the Trump Administrations Executive Order Directing Stricter Work Requirements in Public Benefits Programs Comments, April 11, 2018. https://nclej.org/news/trump-executive-order-stricter-work-requirement. ^
  14. “Championing Snap at 40.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice Championing SNAP at 40 Comments, September 29, 2017. https://nclej.org/news/championing-snap-at-40. ; “Join NCLEJ in OPPOSING Trump Administration’s MISGUIDED Medicaid Work Requirements Policy.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice Join NCLEJ in Opposing Trump Administrations Misguided Medicaid Work Requirements Policy Comments, January 11, 2018. https://nclej.org/news/oppose-trump-medicaid-work-requirement. ^
  15. “National Center for Law and Economic Justice Inc – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237311208. ^
  16. “Dennis D. Parker.” National Center for Law and Economic Justice Dennis D Parker Comments. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://nclej.org/staff/dennis-parker. ^
  17. “National Center for Law and Economic Justice Inc – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed August 13, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237311208. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1973

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,723,827 $2,246,698 $1,939,819 $90,179 N $1,500,131 $320,229 $10,268 $246,089 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $2,246,804 $1,915,360 $2,463,227 $91,692 Y $2,248,077 $104,593 $8,034 $209,354 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,901,109 $2,121,812 $2,171,211 $130,614 N $1,076,041 $842,190 $3,218 $202,482 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,055,586 $2,062,484 $2,407,988 $133,741 N $1,176,738 $923,115 $3,991 $341,764
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,011,450 $2,007,213 $2,415,601 $132,287 N $1,322,302 $736,592 $7,490 $186,327 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,302,677 $1,794,620 $2,363,120 $79,060 N $1,876,121 $458,195 $9,441 $133,561 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,894,050 $1,617,966 $1,872,580 $92,939 N $1,257,339 $623,353 $8,148 $152,928 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,584,581 $1,458,048 $1,580,789 $66,163 N $1,170,821 $432,622 $5,436 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,642,925 $1,525,036 $1,473,229 $81,596 N $1,355,677 $317,785 $5,399 $145,348 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Center for Law and Economic Justice

    275 7TH AVE FL 15
    NEW YORK, NY 10001-6860