“Supreme Court says Boulder City cannot sue citizens over ballot initiatives,” read the Las Vegas Sun headline.
An important legal victory . . . a long time coming.
Three years ago, I caught an online story about a citizens group that had petitioned three measures onto their local ballot: (1) require voter approval before the city council could incur $1 million or more in debt, (2) term limits for members on city commissions and committees, and (3) restrict the city to just one publicly-owned golf course.
Their public spirit was promptly rewarded by being sued, personally, and dragged into court by the city attorney of Boulder City.
I called the citizens’ attorney quoted in the news story, Linda Strickland, and we talked for over an hour. This case, as the Nevada Supreme Court has now agreed, is a classic violation of the state’s Anti-SLAPP statute (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
Citizens in Charge Foundation gave Linda and Terry, her husband and law partner, the John Lilburne Award, affording this small town legal scuffle some national recognition and sparking news coverage across Nevada.
On a later trip, I sat in Linda’s living room with a dozen local citizens who recounted the good feeling of participating in the petition campaign and then their unease of being sued by their own city government. I couldn’t be more pleased to now relate that Linda’s efforts have paid off in a state Supreme Court win, protecting the rights of all Nevadans to petition their government.
Freedom is regularly attacked and must be defended. Thanks to Linda and others, it shall be.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.