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In Defense of the Defense Attorney for SLAPPed Citizens

For those of you following the Boulder City Brouhaha, you should know that opponents – OK, one guy with a grudge and apparently without a life named Stephen Stubbs – claims the attorney representing the citizens of Boulder City who were sued by Boulder City for exercising their right to petition their government is….unethical.

Last August, Boulder City Councilwoman Linda Strickland, an attorney, opposed the city’s decision to sue the sponsors of four legitimate ballot initiatives and, after the lawsuit was filed anyway, and after the sponsors were unable to get pro bono legal aid from the likes of the ACLU or Institute for Justice, and after being given just four days to find legal representation…agreed to come to the legal defense of her constituents.

And make no mistake: In representing the sponsors of the initiatives, Councilwoman Strickland isn’t just representing the handful of sponsors of the initiatives; she’s also representing the MAJORITY of Boulder City voters who voted for three of the four initiatives that were placed on the ballot last November.

But perhaps even more importantly, she’s defending the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which declares that the government “shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As for Mr. Stubbs – who maintains that Councilwoman Strickland is being “unethical” in representing her constituents against the lawsuits brought against them by their own government for allegedly violating “Rules of Professional Conduct 1.07 and 1.11” regarding conflicts of interest – I refer you to the actual oath of office Mrs. Strickland took upon being elected to the city council:

“I, Linda Strickland, do solemnly swear that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States, and the Constitution and government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any state notwithstanding, and that I will well and faithfully perform all of the duties of the office of Council member, on which I am about to enter; so help me God.”

There are other reasons why the councilwoman’s actions in this matter do not violate the professional codes of conduct for attorneys; but in any event, defending the U.S. Constitution trumps any “ordinance, resolution or law” – or any “professional code” of conduct. The Supreme Law of the Land is, indeed, supreme.

Councilwoman Strickland shouldn’t be attacked and accused of unethical behavior for honoring her oath of office and defending the constitutional rights of her constituents. She should be given an award.

Oh, that’s right….she was. Click here