Deborah Goldberg is a managing attorney of Earthjustice's Northeast regional office, where she supervises and conducts legal advocacy and litigation related to global warming and environmental health.
Her arrival at Earthjustice in July 2008 marked a return to the practice of environmental law, where she spent the first decade of her legal career. As an attorney at the law firms Berle, Kass & Case and Arnold & Porter, she concentrated in cases involving environmental impact review, historic preservation, and hazardous waste issues. She was lead counsel at the U.S. Supreme Court for the county intervenors in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992) (overturning portions of the Low Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act). While in private practice, she also co-authored with Michael B. Gerrard the environmental law column of the New York Law Journal.
Goldberg is a graduate of Harvard Law School, after which she served as a law clerk for then-Judge Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the late Constance Baker Motley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before joining Earthjustice, she was the Democracy Program Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she litigated cases, published in academic journals and the popular media, and provided congressional testimony on issues of electoral and campaign finance reform.
Goldberg also holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and taught ethics for three years at Columbia University before embarking on the study and practice of law.
My passion for the environment started on a trip to Costa Rica in 1998, where I became absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the birds. My timing was really bad, because I had just left a job as an environmental litigator (in private practice) for a public interest position that had nothing to do with birds, conservation or environmental protection.
When I returned home to New York City, I started watching birds in Central Park and formed a book club with some serious birders. As I read about birds, island biogeography, evolutionary theory and related issues with the group, I also started reading more on my own about climate pollution and its implications for biodiversity. I became increasingly alarmed about the imminent peril faced by our planet. I decided that if there was anything I could do to promote a possible solution, I had do it. Ten years after leaving the practice of environmental law, I decided it was time to return.
Until I joined Earthjustice in 2008, my career was not fully aligned with my deepest concerns. Now, what I do from day to day, what I care about the most, and what I believe to be the most crucial issues of our time fit together perfectly. I feel unbelievably lucky to have landed here, with extraordinary and inspiring colleagues doing incredibly important work. I only hope that I can live up to the standards they embody and the example they set in my fight for a healthy environment, biodiverse ecosystems and a clean energy future.
"The type of protection that you get—for your health, your water, your air and your land—should not depend on where you live."