Good Law | Bad Law #153 - Charlottesville, the KKK and the Law: A Conversation w/ Michael Bloch

Can a law that dates back to Reconstruction in the 19th Century be used to fight back against the perpetrators of racial violence that erupted in Charlottesville two years ago?


Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Michael Bloch, an attorney at Kaplan, Hecker & Fink LLP, to discuss his work on “the Charlottesville Case,” a lawsuit representing the victims of the Charlottesville riots when neo-Nazis and white supremacists plotted to commit acts of horrific racial violence in August 2017.


Eight victims of that violence filed suit, in conjunction with the nonprofit Integrity First for America (IFA), to send a clear message to every hate group in the country: “Americans will not give in to violence and hate.” The lawsuit seeks to ensure that the tragic events of Charlottesville never happen again, “… not on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, and not anywhere else in the United States of America.” Michael’s firm is representing the Plaintiffs in this new litigation.


Aaron and Michael discuss this case and what it may mean for the future. Michael talks about the legal strategies of the case, the decision to use an 1871 law, the relevance of this case and more. Is there a new boldness today for hatred? Can Charlottesville be seen as a catalyst for such emboldened bigotry? Michael explains that this case is about accountability, emphasizing the importance of understanding what happened and how the law can be a tool to fight back.


A graduate of Harvard Law, Michael is an experienced trial attorney. Having spent over seven years as a public defender at the Bronx Defenders, Michael represented hundreds of clients charged with criminal matters at all stages of litigation. Prior to working as a public defender, Michael worked at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C., concentrating in the areas of commercial litigation and legal malpractice defense. At Harvard, Michael represented clients charged with crimes in Roxbury District Court as part of the Criminal Justice Institute. He also worked with the NAACP representing a client in post-conviction proceedings as part of the Death Penalty Clinic.


To learn more about Michael, please visit his bio on Kaplan Hecker’s website here. Or check out his twitter, @MichaelBloch15. To learn more about Kaplan, Hecker & Fink you can follow them on twitter, @kaplanhecker.


To learn more about Integrity First For America, you can visit their website here. You can also follow them on Twitter, @IntegrityforUSA.


*IFA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to holding those accountable who threaten longstanding principles of our democracy – including our country’s commitment to civil rights and equal justice.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Michael Bloch