A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Monday that rules that bar legal aid organizations financed by the Legal Services Corp. (LSC) from participating in class actions and collecting attorney fees do not violate their First Amendment rights.

The Oregon Law Center, Legal Aid Services of Oregon and a number of clients and private donors, as well as individual attorneys and board members at both groups, brought suit after the LSC rejected their 2005 proposal to merge into a single organization with the same executive director while keeping their finances separate. Legal Aid Services of Oregon receives LSC funds; the Oregon Law Center does not.

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