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Supreme Court Upholds IOLTA

On March 27, 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision in the case of Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington, in which it rejected a challenge that Washington's Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program was unconsitutional as a taking of private property without compensation. IOLTA programs are used in every state, including Pennsylvania, to generate funds for the purposes of justice, usually for legal services for the needy. In an opinion by Justice Stevens, the court found that since owners of funds in IOLTA accounts had no expectation of recovering interest on those funds, no taking occurred. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Kennedy and Thomas. Justice Kennedy also filed a separate dissenting opinion. The opinions are available online here.