The case has attracted a dozen amicus briefs, including a couple of anti-father opinions from supposedly conservative politicians.
Texas AG Greg Abbott argues that lawyers will not help dads because they are being jail on such sloppy evidence and procedures anyway:
There are several notable aspects of the rules of procedure in South Carolina’s family courts.10 First, the rules not only permit, but require, courts to admit certain unauthenticated documents and statements into evidence. ... empirical evidence confirms that the child-support civil-contempt proceedings in South Carolina family court differ from the formal, adversarial criminal trials that require appointed counsel. Litigants do not question or cross-examine witnesses; judges handle all the questioning. ...Senators Demint, Graham, Johanns and Rubio argue just the opposite. They say that lawyers will help the dads so much that the dads will get an unfair advantage:
In the rare cases where lawyers appeared, they performed only tasks that pro se litigants would be equally capable of doing. There is no need for a right to appointed counsel in such simple proceedings.
Indeed, disputes over child support payments perfectly illustrate the danger of extending the right to state-paid counsel to civil contempt proceedings. Inserting the right to counsel into child support disputes on behalf of delinquent parents would put their children and the custodial parents at an extreme disadvantage.The brief argues that jailing dads has been very effective at squeezing money out of them, so nothing should interfere with that.
The argument is really an argument against any defendant having any rights. The authorities would have any easier time putting drug dealers and murderers in jail also, if they could use unauthenticated documents, disallow cross-examination, and throw suspects in jail without lawyers speaking in their behalf.
Abbott's brief makes this admission about his own state of Texas:
Many States, including Texas, appoint counsel for indigent defendants in civil-contempt proceedings. They have done so either as a matter of legislative grace or as a matter of state constitutional law.So Texas is arguing that S. Carolina dads should not have rights that Texas dads have.
I am appalled that these politicians can gain votes by coming out in favor of jailing dads without having due process in the family court.