If Roberta Kaplan’s lawsuit succeeds, the instigators of the Charlottesville rally that injured 30 people and killed Heather Heyer will be held legally accountable. More broadly, the alt-right’s funding streams and structures will be exposed.
The nine named plaintiffs, all of whom were injured during the rally, allege the defendants, 15 individuals who organized or participated in the rally, conspired to incite racial hatred and violence. If anyone can win the suit, it’s Kaplan, an all-star litigator on the left. She’s the attorney who argued the case that toppled the Defense of Marriage Act, United States v. Windsor.
This legal challenge to the alt-right is based on a prior successful suit in which proponents of civil rights took on anti-abortion activists imperiling abortion providers.
After the Charlottesville rally exploded into chaos, Ms. Kaplan started thinking of a lawsuit modeled on the one brought 20 years ago against the Nuremberg Files, a website where anti-abortion activists posted the names and addresses of doctors who performed abortions. That suit used civil conspiracy law to prove that the website had led to the murder of doctors, and resulted in a judgment of more than $100 million. Though the damages were eventually reduced, the site was taken down.