Statement on the Passing of Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale

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Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

NLADA's Statement on the Passing of Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale

Vice President Walter Mondale was a champion of equal justice. Throughout his career, he was committed to ensuring that everyone had access to counsel regardless of race, color, creed or income.

Early in his career, as Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, he helped lead many of the nation’s attorneys general in submitting an amicus brief in support of a defendant’s right to legal counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright. This landmark case was a game changer in ensuring justice for those who are unable to afford legal assistance and the impact of attorneys general supporting that right cannot be understated.  

As a U.S. Senator, he played a critical role in the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1965. As one of the instrumental legislative achievements during the civil rights era, this law banned discrimination in housing based on race, religion, national origin or sex and continues to be a critical tool to ensure this basic human right is recognized for millions of Americans.

NLADA worked with Vice President Mondale to fight efforts by President Ronald Reagan’s administration to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in the 1980s. His leadership was crucial in creating Advocates to Save Legal Services, a coalition that played a critical role in preserving LSC. He continued to provide support for equal justice throughout the rest of his career at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney and in other pursuits.

During his long and distinguished career, Vice President Mondale never veered from his steadfast dedication to equality and justice, and our nation is better for it.

NLADA sends its deepest sympathies and respects to the Mondale family.


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association, founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of our public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.