Procedural fairness and equal protection were the core of Gideon’s reasoning for a right to counsel for indigent criminal defendants. Under the same constitutional values, there should be a right to legal assistance of counsel for indigent civil litigants, especially in adversarial proceedings. This Article outlines the constitutional basis for a civil right to counsel. Further, it stresses the need for legislation to address the massive shortfall in legal representation available to indigent persons in the United States. Recognition of civil Gideon as part of the Constitution’s promise of justice accommodates a moral revolution. It exemplifies a shift in consciousness, rippling beyond the scope of the law and encompassing interpersonal relations.
Jonathan K. Stubbs, The Ripple Effects of Gideon: Recognizing the Human Right to Counsel in Civil Adversarial Proceedings, 49 Stetson L. Rev. 457 (2020).