In the United States, youth in delinquency court have the right to defense counsel as a protection of their due process rights. The federal and state governments do not have the legal authority to deprive youth of their liberty in an arbitrary or fundamentally unfair manner, and the right to defense counsel protects youth from the possibility of overarching governmental action. Defense counsel serve as advocates and guides for youth in delinquency court and throughout the juvenile justice system. In their role as advocate for youth, defense counsel also have insight into the ways in which the juvenile justice system systemically fails to meet its ideological and legal obligations to youth.