Power the Civil Rights Work of Our Time

     Each day members of our community are experiencing wage theft, the effects of gentrification, discriminatory policing, collateral consequences, marginalization in schools, and barriers to public accommodations. 
     We fight alongside people facing the effects of gentrification like Amira Moore. Our work empowers the people and communities who need it most, “We can do more than we think. There’s a path to equity, we just have to step to it.” –Ms. Moore
     For more than 50 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee has been on the frontlines of the fight for civil rights in our community. We deploy the best legal talent, we tackle the tough cases, we fight, and we win. 
     Our work is as important today as it has ever been. Through your support, you can play a role in creating justice for thousands of marginalized members of our community. Together, we will dismantle injustice and pursue lasting change.
     Join us! Donate & subscribe: https://www.washlaw.org/support-us
     Volunteer with us: https://www.washlaw.org/get-involved/
     For more information, contact Gregg Kelley at Gregg_Kelley@washlaw.org​

Alleged Judicial Activism in Abortion Case
Renews Calls for Supreme Court Reform

     The draft of a Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade that was leaked to the media is renewing calls this week in Congress to expand the number of justices.
     Democrats behind the proposal say the Supreme Court move to eliminate a federal right to abortion shows the nine-member court is too partisan and out of sync with the rest of the American population. Abortion rights are favored by a strong majority of Americans.
     The supermajority of conservatives on the court now would be harder for any president to attain if the court had 13 justices, according to supporters of a larger Supreme Court.
     The proposal was introduced in Congress last year by Democrats and reintroduced this year. It has 50 House co-sponsors but faces tougher opposition in the Senate.
     President Joe Biden appointed a commission to study Supreme Court reform, which could include more justices.

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D.C. in Brief

We Could Use Your Help

     Thousands of DC residents need a lawyer, but can’t afford one. They could be illegally evicted from their homes, lose custody of their children, experience domestic violence, and more, all because they lack legal representation. 
      You could make a difference. By making a donation to the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, you will provide free, high-quality, zealous legal representation to low-income DC residents. Click the photo above to make a donation today. 
      Your support could prevent homelessness, domestic violence, hunger, or family separation. In fact, if just 10 people who see this ad give $28 to Legal Aid, it will be enough to staff an experienced attorney at the courthouse for a day.
      That way, DC residents like Keith King (pictured above) can get the legal representation they need to win their cases. As Mr. King put it, if it wasn’t for his Legal Aid lawyer, “I would have been homeless again.”
     Here is the link to the Legal Aid website for donations: https://www.legalaiddc.org/donate-to-legal-aid/

     For more information, contact Rob Pergament at Legal Aid at rpergament@legalaiddc.org

FBI Warns of Ransomware Attacks
Using Sophisticated Program

     Shortly after a D.C. bar and restaurant was hit by a devastating cybercrime, the FBI warned that computer hackers most likely based in Russia have compromised at least 60 organizations since last month.
     They are using a new generation of a sophisticated programming language called Rust that is hard to deactivate.
     The cyberthieves in the attack on Johnny Pistolas in the Adams Morgan neighborhood have not been caught or linked to the Russians with any degree of certainty.
     What is known is that they were able to illegally transfer nearly $500,000 from the restaurant’s bank accounts through fraudulent wire transactions.
     The family-owned restaurant was able to recover part of the money. About $200,000 was lost to the thieves.
     The phishing attack against Johnny Pistolas was exactly the kind of danger mentioned in the FBI advisory. 
     About 30 percent of the attacks with the Rust programming language have infiltrated U.S. organizations. The others are worldwide.
     The FBI accuses the malware group BlackCat, sometimes known as Darkside, of the attacks. 
     Darkside is blamed for the May 2021 Colonial Pipeline ransomware incident. It shut down for five days Colonial Pipeline Company’s 5,500-mile pipeline that carries nearly half the fuel used on the U.S. East Coast from its source in Texas.
     The sophistication of the attacks shows the BlackCat gang is affiliated with other money launderers and data thieves, indicating “they have extensive networks and experience with ransomware operations,” the FBI advisory says.



​D.C. Council Tries to Protect Against
Restrictive State Abortion Laws

     A District of Columbia Council member wants to turn the nation’s capital into a sanctuary city for women seeking abortions who might be prosecuted or sued in their home states.
     A bill introduced this month by D.C. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau would bar anyone from assisting interstate investigations of persons getting abortions in the District of Columbia.
     It also would allow lawsuits against anyone trying to collect bounties for reporting someone who gets an abortion or assists in one.
     The bounties refer to what Nadeau’s bill calls “Texas-style bounty claims.” It is a reference to a Texas law that allows private citizens to sue people who perform an abortion at least six weeks after fertilization.
     Nadeau’s bill was prompted by a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling that would eliminate a federal right to abortion granted under the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. It would make abortion rights a state decision.
     Texas is one of 26 states that would enforce some degree of limits on abortion. It also is one of the most restrictive.
     The District of Columbia, along with 16 states, has laws that defend abortion rights.
     The protections in Nadeau’s bill for women from states that would outlaw abortion take on greater importance for the District of Columbia.
     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2019, among the 4,552 abortions performed in the District of Columbia, 68.7 percent were done on women from other places. It is the highest rate of abortion for out-of-state residents in the nation.
     Called the Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act of 2022, the District of Columbia bill is partly modeled on a Connecticut law the state’s governor signed last week.
     It grants an immunity from liability to Connecticut medical providers from legal action based on abortion restrictions in other states.
     The proposed Human Rights Sanctuary Amendment Act protects from liability persons coming to the District of Columbia to obtain contraception or gender-affirming health care.​


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Lawsuit Accuses Former House Speaker
Of Stealing Marijuana Trade Secrets

     Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is being sued in Washington, D.C., for allegedly stealing data from a marijuana advocacy group to help form his own industry organization for promoting legalization and sale of cannabis.
     The lawsuit says Boehner was approached by James Pericola, executive director of the 10 Campaign, with an offer to become co-chair of the group. The law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLP, where Boehner is a partner, was supposed to be a legal adviser.
     After signing an agreement in March 2018 to become co-chair and learning more about how the 10 Campaign operated, Boehner suddenly backed out of the deal, the lawsuit says.
     Less than a year later, the Ohio Republican announced he was starting a new marijuana advocacy group called the National Cannabis Roundtable.
     Boehner's group, which includes former Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius as co-chair, already has supplanted the 10 Campaign as one of the nation's premier advocates for marijuana legalization. It also has become profitable off what Pericola says is his organization’s operating plan.​

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Justice Dept. Opens New Office
To Crack Down on Polluters

     The Justice Department announced this month it was opening a new Office of Environmental Justice to crack down on industrial polluters.
    Top priorities of the new program are reducing climate change and protecting low-income or disadvantaged communities, according to the Justice Department announcement.
     “For far too long, these communities have faced barriers to accessing the justice they deserve,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
     The Justice Department is collaborating with the Environmental Protection Agency to identify which polluters should be prosecuted or fined. The agencies identified chemical plants and refineries as some of the most likely targets of the enforcement. 
     The fines they pay would go to environmental cleanup and public health in a revival of an EPA compensation system that was ended under the Trump administration.
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