Christopher Columbus Lands in America

Letters Blogatory wishes its readers a happy Columbus Day!

Chevron’s amici have started to weigh in in the Second Circuit. Maybe the most interesting, politically, is the brief of Legal Momentum, formerly known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. The support from a women’s civil rights group has inspired tweets like this one from Fortune reporter Roger Parloff:

Occasional Letters Blogatory commenter Paul Paz y Miño has shot back:

Parloff is basically right. Legal Momentum is supporting Chevron. Hence the crowing by Chevron allies and the defensiveness by Chevron opponents. However, it’s clear that Legal Momentum has a very well-defined interest in the outcome of one of the technical questions in the case, namely whether a private party has standing to seek injunctive relief under the RICO statute. Legal Momentum “was an early and successful advocate for the use of injunctive relief under RICO, beginning in the 1980s.” It obtained injunctions under RICO in cases against anti-abortion activists harassing patients or doctors around abortion clinics, and it says its “sole interest in this litigation is to preserve these rulings.” Fair enough.

On another front, Donziger and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs have jointly moved for assignment of the appeal to the same panel that decided the Naranjo case. This is smart. Although the doctrinal issues are different, the gist of Naranjo, which was clearer in the oral argument than in the decision itself, was a discomfort about the US courts as super-courts. But this is an entirely discretionary decision for the court, at least as far as the motion shows.