This is CCR's weekly "Frontlines of Justice" news round-up, keeping you in the loop about what we've been up to and what's coming soon. Check it out every Monday, your one-stop-shop for CCR opinions, news coverage, reports from court appearances, upcoming events, and more!
CCR fights the pipelines, from North Dakota to Louisiana!
Last week, we filed multiple public records requests and responded to a ridiculous attempt by Donald Trump's lawyers to sue an idea when they served a tiny environmental journal in a conspiracy lawsuit over opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. This week we'll be filing our own lawsuit seeking connections among the various corporate and government actors.
Last Monday, we filed on behalf of the environmental magazine the Earth First! Journal, urging a court to dismiss parts of a lawsuit brought by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Energy Transfer Equity (ETE). ETP and ETE are part-owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and have attempted to sue the broad social movement known as Earth First! for racketeering. The ludicrous allegations in the complaint, drafted by Trump's law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, claim that Earth First! funded a violent terrorist presence at the Standing Rock protests with $500,000 and proceeds from drug sales on the site, and is part of a sprawling conspiracy with Greenpeace and other environmental groups to deceive the public about the environmental risks of pipelines. CCR's filing points out that the plaintiff pipeline companies themselves admit Earth First! is a "philosophy" or "movement" with "no members" or "formal leadership"; as a matter of law, therefore, it cannot be sued. Trump"s lawyers nonetheless attempted to serve the movement Earth First! by mailing a complaint to the offices of the Earth First! Journal in Lake Worth, Florida, a small collective typically made up of two to five staff members. As our client said, "You can’t sue an idea!"
Meanwhile, some of the same corporate actors are also trying to build the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana, and CCR staff has been working with local grassroots groups to fight back. On Wednesday they invoked a public records request to force Bayou Bridge LLC to make its records, including internal communications, available to the public. A month ago, they also petitioned the Louisiana State Board of Private Security Examiners to let them participate in a hearing regarding the state licensure of the private security company TigerSwan, which is seeking a license presumably to support ETP in its attempt to develop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline as they did with DAPL in North Dakota.
"We saw a dangerous blurring of the lines between law enforcement and private corporations at Standing Rock," said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pamela Spees, who grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, one of the communities that would be affected by the Bayou Bridge pipeline. The proposed pipeline would span 162 miles between Lake Charles and St. James, passing through 11 parishes, and impacting 700 bodies of water, including in the Atchafalaya Basin. We will not stand down!
The UN Gender Justice Legacty Wall launched last week, and CCR was a proud part of it
Last Thursday, CCR was proud to count our staff and partners among the incredible people and groups inducted into the inaugural Gender Legacy Wall—including the late Rhonda Copelon, former CCR vice president; the late Barbara Blaine, friend, colleague, and client; and Senior Staff Attorneys Katherine Gallagher and Pamela Spees. Spearheaded by the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, the Gender Justice Legacy Wall, which will be installed at the International Criminal Court, honors and celebrates those "whose work, resilience, and vision have inspired incredible developments in the gender justice field" over the past 125 years. Its launch coincides with the 15-year anniversary of the launch of the International Criminal Court, almost 20 years since the adoption of the Rome Statute, which established the court.
Other women, men, and organizations honored on the wall included ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and MADRE. The leaders honored have made historic contributions for justice for thousands of survivors of sexual violence, and their work forms a foundation on which we continue to build. We look forward to continuing the "living legacy" of the Gender Justice Legacy Wall. Read more on our blog!