Astha Sharma Pokharel
Astha Sharma Pokharel is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she specializes in international human rights and in challenging racial and environmental injustice, abusive immigration practices, and incarceration. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, she has worked to defend the constitutional rights of advocates for justice in Palestine and advocates for environmental justice, including in cases such as Bronner v. Duggan, defending an individual who was sued for the American Studies Association’s decision to endorse the call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and Energy Transfer Partners v. Greenpeace, defending an organizer who was sued by a pipeline company for resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Astha has also worked to challenge Death by Incarceration, also known as life sentences, in the United States. Astha has represented residents of Cancer Alley in Louisiana resisting the petrochemical industry, including in cases such as White Hat v. Landry – a constitutional challenge to the state anti-protest critical infrastructure law. In 2020, Astha was on legal teams challenging the continued detention of immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic in cases such as Dada v. Witte. Before becoming a Staff Attorney, Astha was a Bertha Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She then joined the UC Berkeley School of Law International Human Rights Law Clinic as a Clinical Teaching Fellow, where she worked to challenge state surveillance and abusive border policies and practices. Earlier, she was a Global Programs Fellow at Namati, an organization focusing on legal empowerment, and she is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar.