Energy & Environment

Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a vocal critic of the prosecution of former environmental lawyer Steven Donziger, blasted the Biden administration’s judicial nomination of a lawyer who worked on Chevron’s lawsuit against Donziger.

“President Biden was elected with the hope that he would guard against and reverse the ongoing conservative takeover of our courts, not accelerate it,” Tlaib said in a statement to The Hill.

She went on to blast Jennifer Rearden’s role in “the outrageous Chevron legal assault on human rights lawyer Steven Donziger” as well as work on behalf of landlords facing discrimination lawsuits.

“This nomination is a slap in the face to the very people who put President Biden in the White House, and he should withdraw it immediately,” Tlaib added.

In the 1990s, Donziger sued Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001, on behalf of a coalition of indigenous Ecuadoreans and farmers. Rearden, working for the law firm of Gibson and Dunn, represented Chevron in its countersuit against Donziger.

Donziger refused to turn over his electronic devices during the case and was put under house arrest in 2019. He was sentenced to six months in jail last October. Donziger’s conviction and sentencing have been condemned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as by Tlaib and fellow members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

In August, Tlaib joined several colleagues in calling for Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the case. Tlaib also condemned the sentence in an October hearing of the House Oversight Committee, when Chevron CEO Michael Wirth testified before the panel.

Rearden was first nominated in February 2020 by then-President Trump and came highly recommended by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Biden renominated her Wednesday after her nomination expired at the end of 2020. Data from OpenSecrets indicates she has made bipartisan political donations, including to Gillibrand, then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) 2015 reelection campaign, and the 2008 presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani.

Donziger himself condemned the nomination as well, saying in a tweet Thursday that he was “outraged” by the renomination.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Tags Biden judicial nominees Chevron Corporation Chris Christie Donald Trump Joe Biden Kirsten Gillibrand Merrick Garland Rashida Tlaib Rudy Giuliani Steven Donziger

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