Admittedly refraining from commentary on the Bundy showdown in Nevada that’s been flittering on and off the media stage in the last several months, we decided to let some Las Vegas attorneys weigh in after Cliven Bundy most recently issued a statement that he plans to take on the feds in the courts. According to this online article in the Las Vegas Sun, the Bundy family is assembling a full-on team of lawyers to “pursue legal action” against the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy is sure—of course he is, he always is—that “the crimes and civil rights violations committed by the BLM are a lawyers (sic) playground,” at least, according to the Bundy Ranch Facebook page.
But Las Vegas attorneys like Karl Shelton are hesitant to call the BLM’s actions “crimes” and “civil rights violations,” especially in a court of law. Which may be partly why the Bundy family has avoided legal action so far, although according to their statements on Facebook, that’s not the case. Boasting how they have been “approached many times by well known, highly effective lawyers all over the country offering their services free of charge,” the Bundy family cites spiritual and practical reasons for not considering legal action until now.
Spiritually? Yep—Bundy has essentially stated that divine knowledge doesn’t find roads through lawyers or Las Vegas attorneys but through a sort of heavenly game of hide-and-seek. And practically: Bundy wanted to give Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and Gov. Brian Sandoval more time to take action and stand up to the feds on the Bundys’ behalf. Their Facebook page reports “sadness” and disappointment at the fact that their “governor and sheriff should have been our heroes, but yet they remain corrupted.”
Cliven Bundy owes $1 million to the BLM in back fees owed for twenty years of cattle grazing on national lands, according to the feds. According to the armed anti-government supporters turning up for his People vs. U.S. cause, he’s a hero. According to others he’s a scofflaw and deadbeat. According to Las Vegas attorneys like Shelton, he’s finally turning to the most American avenue of settling his dispute with the government: the court of law. Though his chances of winning a suit against the BLM are dubious.
It’s true that the figure Cliven Bundy and his actions over the past several weeks waft between bordering on the sadly comical and defiantly inspirational. He’s near perfect propaganda for individualized patriotism, but his libertarian-like hold-out against the feds has its limits. As his portraiture in the media wavers—as do the reports about whether heand his family actuallyplan to sue the U.S. Government—Bundy’s decision to utilize the U.S. Justice system, rather than the bunkers and trenches of his land, couldn’t be timelier.
There’s still a chance, albeit small, for one of those well-known highly effective lawyers to represent him in the public eye in a better light than he himself has done, and if a lawsuit is actually filed, you better believe there will be plenty to read about it.