Tim Nelson, former Democrat political flak for Governor Napolitano and current candidate for county attorney, is trying to downplay his record as an ACLU attorney. Originally, on April 29, Nelson issued a press release declaring that he was proud of his record as an ACLU attorney. But now that press release is nowhere to be found on his website. The disappearing press release said in part,
I am proud that, in the mid-1990s, I represented several clients, including the American Civil Liberties Union, in their fight to protect freedom of conscience in the state of Arizona….Like everyone who values the freedoms guaranteed to us by our Constitution, I am grateful to the many organizations, such as the ACLU, that work to protect our civil rights.
An East Valley Tribune article, “County Attorney Hopeful Discounts Ties to ACLU,” reports that Nelson has issued a second press release downplaying his record as an ACLU attorney, by pointing out that when he worked for Napolitano, he was forced to defend the state against lawsuits by the ACLU. He said, “it’s not reflective of what I’ve done in the 20 years I’ve been a lawyer.” Apparently ACLU Tim realizes that he can’t get elected to county attorney as an ACLU attorney, Arizona voters don’t want the fox guarding the henhouse, so he’s trying to hide the big ACLU elephant (or should we say donkey) in the closet.
The Tribune article described some of Nelson’s work for the ACLU as follows -
He represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona in a lawsuit to stop the mayor of Gilbert from declaring seven days in November as “Bible Week.” Nelson and the ACLU argued it violated the separation of church and state.
The case dragged on in federal court for almost a year with big-name Christian lawyers stepping in to defend the town. It ultimately ended in compromise, both sides agreeing the declaration would go forward but with toned-down language.
Nelson wasn’t just a paid attorney in the case. He was the lead attorney and took on the ACLU case pro bono, receiving no compensation. Sounds like something he passionately believed in. But not something the majority of reasonable Arizonans find appropriate, and Nelson knows it.