Fossil fuels burn Earth

Jeffrey Clark Pollutes Environmental Law

Someone asked me this weekend on Twitter (yes, I still call it that) what I once did for the Pentagon. I found myself reticent to reply, and damn well knew why. Jeffrey Clark. The man among many who give lawyers a bad name, and the dude who has given environmental lawyering a spectacularly negative spotlight just by existing as a pernicious scumbag.

Jeffrey Clark surrendered to Georgia authorities last Thursday in the dead of night like the slimeball he is, just barely ahead of the Friday high-noon deadline. Because, of course, he first attempted to weasel out of being booked in Fulton County, despite having had no problem with flagrantly breaking the law there.

Apparently, he and others think it’s a valid legal argument to claim their status as federal officials allowed them to commit both federal and state crimes in the form of election interference in any given state. It doesn’t. It never has. Lawyers know this.

And, yes, I’m aware that these scofflaws are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but you know what? I’m not going to be on the jury. Plus, I have eyes and ears and a firm grasp of, and knowledgeable understanding about, the rules of professional ethics for lawyers. To wit, we’re not supposed to engage in racketeering and fraud.

Jeffrey Clark was charged with racketeering along with the former-president-cum-criminal-defendant (apropos for the criminal he has always been), as well as a disgusting and appalling number of other lawyers sworn to uphold the law and not attempt to destroy democracy.

I would have enjoyed the authorities having to hunt him down and haul his despicable ass to jail. But, lacking that, Clark’s mugshot brought great satisfaction. Why him in particular? This feckless conniving cretin is supposedly an “environmental” lawyer.

Before Clark was the acting assistant attorney general of DOJ’s civil division from September 2020 to January 2021 (whereupon the thug in the White House actually tried to make him attorney general of the entire DOJ), he was sworn in as the assistant attorney general for DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division on Nov 1, 2018.

This leads me to surmise that we need a new term for lawyers like Clark, and that would be anti-environmental attorney. Yet another Harvard-educated elitist lacking in professional ethics or personal integrity. How do they find them so very many of them?

It brings to mind this George Orwell quote (which I’ll be using in my next novel): It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant have so much influence.

My derision is directed at both Clark and those of his ilk, as well as all at supposedly elite, revered institutions of higher learning who are responsible for admitting and welcoming among their ranks people of such low and dubious character.

No, I didn’t attend an Ivy League law school, because even if I could have gotten in, I wouldn’t have paid their exorbitant sums to attend. But I did earn an A grade in my law school courses on Professional Responsibility and Environmental Law, and I passed the American Bar Association exam on rules of professional conduct both times it was required for admission to the California and Nevada State Bars.

The problem is, we don’t see many state bars going out of their way to uphold and enforce these rules against lawyers like Jeffrey Clark, now do we? Why is that? Does paying more for your law degree buy you some sort of immunity from accountability?

I personally worked with a few lawyers like Jeffrey Clark when I practiced environmental law for both the Department of the Navy and the Air Force JAG Corps. In my first year with the Office of the General Counsel of the Secretary of the Navy in the early nineties, I remember well one conservative individual who specialized in the Clean Air Act saying blithely and dismissively, “We can always plant more trees.”

She was definitely an anti-environmental attorney. And her selfish arrogance was appalling. A co-worker who would come into the office noticeably ill, coughing and sniffing because she wasn’t going to take a sick day even if she passed her snot-nosed illness on to everyone else she worked with. Clean Air Act practitioner my ass.

Then there was the admiral who said that he’d be glad when they got a Republican back in the White House so the Navy wouldn’t have to comply with these (pesky) environmental laws anymore. Ditto for the Marine Corps general at Camp Pendleton in California.

And don’t get me started on the Air Force, whose specialty in the headquarters office for environmental law attached to the Pentagon was putting uniformed individuals in charge with absolutely zero experience in environmental law—and a great deal of contempt for (and insecurity about) civilian environmental lawyers like me and others who knew more than they did.

Hence, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jeffrey Clark was appointed as assistant AG of the Environment and Natural Resources division of DOJ, especially under the corrupt one’s administration. But it’s still sickening. Those who promote rampant fossil fuel production to satisfy unmitigated greed or haplessly grasp at power (here’s also looking at you, Nevada governor). Those who are pleased to plunder  natural resources and eschew environmental protections as getting in the way of making money for them or their campaign donors at the expense and health of everyone else.

Jeffrey Clark well deserved to be criminally indicted in Georgia, and should be summarily convicted and jailed. But there are so many others who continue to destroy our Earth, our democracy, and the integrity of the legal profession. Fossil fuel mongers who pollute with impunity our very right to exist as humans.


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