Yesterday, lawyers for the Occupy Wall Street movement successfully filed for a temporary restraining order with a New York court. On paper, at least — the Bloomberg administration did not comply — Justice Lucy Billings’s ruling allowed the protesters to return to Zuccotti Park between yesterday morning’s eviction and yesterday afternoon’s full hearing. She temporarily barred the city and the private owners of the park from preventing the occupation or keeping the occupiers from setting up tents.
Justice Billings is perhaps the ideal enabler for the occupiers. Her liberal credentials are sterling: She graduated from the University of California–Berkeley’s law school in 1973, was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1974, and went on to spend 25 years working for the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked, according to her official biography online, “to enforce new rights for minority, disabled, and low-income persons” and “forged new legal remedies by litigating issues not previously addressed in housing, environmental justice . . . public health, child welfare, education, and employment.” And her role may not have been coincidental; the Daily News reports: “Asked why they called her first, protest lawyer Daniel Alterman wouldn’t say, remarking that he’s not a ‘gossip guy.’”
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