Spotlight on Balch & Bingham

States’ Rights, Overreach, and Balch & Bingham

In less than a week, indicted Balch & Bingham partner Joel I. Gilbert‘s criminal trial begins.

In February, we took Gilbert to task for drafting what appears to be a letter of intimidation to a public charity in 2014 that demanded a list of their financial supporters.

The hardball tactic reminded us of the unsavory tactics of segregationists and racists in the 1960s who would demand lists of financial supporters of Civil Rights organizations. Public charities are protected from these tactics.

In another alleged racist incident,  Balch & Bingham was allegedly involved in an alleged “whites-only” land grab in Vincent, Alabama for a limestone quarry company.

Balch & Bingham lawyer Robert Fowler allegedly spearheaded the legal services of the strategic purchase of farm land in Vincent and the fast-as-lightening re-zoning of said land.

Now we found this 2010 post from Alabama Confidential, an investigative blog that is now inactive:

Big business has enjoyed a freedom in this state that borders on criminal, and have now they have turned out their attack dog lawyers to put the bite on a federal takeover of ADEMs water permitting authority by the EPA implying it to be a violation of Alabama’s Constitution.

BARD attorney Gilbert says the EPA’s demands to ADEM are an overreach by the Obama administration, pushing changes that would amount to new regulations that contradict state law. “What EPA doesn’t take into account is state law and the state constitution,” Gilbert said. “EPA is reinterpreting the regulations to this administration’s liking. And they are focusing on Alabama because the environmental community has lobbied them to do it.”

As we have reported before, 14 environmental groups have filed a petition with the US EPA to do what ADEM has never been willing to do–follow and enforce the federal laws of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Clean Water Act (CAA). The lawyers are from one primary law firm, Balch & Bingham and the lead bulldogs are BARD lawyers Joel Gilbert and Rob Fowler, both of whom are are very aggressive pro-business advocates exclusively and who have both shown little regard for any environmental regulation and oversight from the EPA.

Anyone can understand government overreach, but to invoke States’ Rights appears to reaffirm the ugly mindset from the 1960s: separate but equal.

In recent years the overreach and abusiveness is not coming from the federal government, but from unscrupulous lawyers and law firms who feel they can do whatever they want with impunity.

North Birmingham, an area that is 92.5 % African-American, was used and abused in Gilbert’s alleged criminal bribery scheme that overreached the boundaries of honest legal services.

Vincent’s Black community saw the overreach of a powerful law firm that appeared to have tossed their Civil Rights aside in a repugnant land-grab.

Burt Newsome, a father of four young children, who was wrongly targeted, falsely arrested, and defamed in an alleged conspiracy allegedly masterminded by a Balch partner, saw his case tossed inside a secretive and unconstitutional Star Chamber, an extreme overreach and abuse of the legal system.

As the criminal case goes to trial next week, the issue of overreach can be tossed right back into Gilbert’s face.

Like the 1960s, the trial is not about States’ Rights or overreach but the suppression and disenfranchisement of African-Americans.


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