Koch Industries, in partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is financing a program to provide scholarships and training for public defenders. The grant will also pay for a review of indigent defense programs to see what works in providing legal representation to those who can’t afford it.
Charles G. Koch, the chairman of Koch Industries, said in a statement that the grant was a way “to make the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to counsel a reality for all Americans, especially those who are the most disadvantaged in our society.”
The company’s interest grew out of its own experience during a criminal case in Texas and underscores a growing area of common ground between conservatives and progressives on criminal justice issues like sentencing reform.
The story goes on to quote the head of this organization acknowledging, a bit sheepishly, that Koch support for highly trained public defenders for vulnerable poor people might prevent good liberals from supporting highly trained public defenders for vulnerable poor people. But it’s the Kochs who are irredeemably ideologically driven and heartless. Always remember that.
There’s, of course, mounds of evidence that the Kochs give to a diverse, interesting, and sometimes unpredictable slate of causes, if one were to ever bother to look beyond the stereotype. If the media weren’t so busy demonizing them for using their money to create policy change, they’d profess to love just the sort of ballet-supporting, marijuana-legalization-funding, pro-gay-marriage wingers the Kochs are. But they’re economic conservatives whom the Democratic Party has deemed evil, and therefore, this story will get 400 words, 200 of them devoted to whether liberals can reasonably be expected to continue to fund a cause with which they Kochs are associated, and we shall be done with it. But this is a good and worthy project, addressing just the kind of disparities in the justice system liberals purport to care deeply about. This private contribution will do more than any government official’s kvetching, and good on the Kochs for putting some money toward it.
In brighter news, someone has devised a way to educate the American people in a deep, deep way about Constitutional issues and ideological debates too often characterized by lazy ad hominem and stereotype. Behold, Dogs Reenact SCOTUS Oral Arguments. First up, Hobby Lobby: