Having 1,500 homeless veterans in Georgia is a disgrace, American Bar Association President Linda Klein told the monthly breakfast meeting of Jewish War Veterans Post 112 on Sunday, April 30, at the William Breman Jewish Home.

Klein, the senior managing shareholder at law firm Baker Donelson in Atlanta, was elected the ABA’s president in August, and she said she quickly realized the nation has 40,000 homeless veterans, with women making up a growing percentage of that group.

She also said 3 million veterans are living near or below the poverty line.

“The ABA is fighting to help these great men and woman,” Klein said, adding that “seven of the 159 counties here in Georgia have zero lawyers to help.”

The Bar Association is rallying Americans to lobby members of Congress to fully fund the Legal Services Corp., which supports legal aid services across the country. People can sign up to be legal aid defenders at www.defendlegalaid.org, a website the ABA established.

The federal budget for legal aid services nationwide is $385 million, Klein said, but cuts are possible. “We cannot let this happen.”

Naturally, as a Jewish lawyer who has made speeches in such countries as France, Britain, Sweden, Spain, Russia and Canada, Klein has a personal dedication to justice.

“Pursuing justice is very important to me,” she said. People must “speak up and raise the bar for justice.”

Klein said half the lawyers in Berlin were Jewish when Hitler took power in Germany, but they were all disbarred in one day. “They were all forced out and fired by the Nazi-controlled government.”

Lawyers came under attack in Nazi Germany because they stood for the rule of law. Removing them freed the Nazis to crush civil liberties, invade neighbors and carry out the Holocaust.

“When abuses go unchecked, great tragedies happen,” Klein said.

“Every American has the equal opportunity for justice,” she said, because “our Founding Fathers’ No. 1 priority was establishing justice.”

In the Constitution, “that is the first order of business,” Klein said, just as Deuteronomy urges us to pursue justice.

Speaking to the war veterans the day before May Day, Klein shared a story about what happened on May 1 exactly 60 years earlier. The ABA president saw the Soviet Union’s military parade through Red Square through Moscow that day and called President Dwight Eisenhower to express disgust at what he saw.

Eisenhower responded by declaring May 1 to be Law Day in the United States, Klein said. “I will go to D.C. tomorrow for Law Day.”

Note: This article originally misreported the numbers Linda Klein provided for the homeless veterans in Georgia and the nation.


6th District Candidates to Appear

JWV Post 112 has invited 6th District congressional candidates Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel to speak about what they would do for veterans and national defense if elected, and both campaigns have confirmed that they will attend the post’s monthly meeting Sunday, May 21. Each candidate will get an equal amount of time to talk, followed by a question-and-answer period.

The meeting is open to the public.

What: JWV monthly breakfast meeting

Where: Berman Commons, 2026 Womack Road, Dunwoody

When: Sunday, May 21; breakfast at 10 a.m., program at 10:30

Cost: $10; jwvpost112@gmail.com or 770-403-4278