Deborah J. La Fetra

Senior Attorney

Debbie grew up in an economically striving lower-middleclass family. Watching and learning from her exceptionally hard-working father, Debbie grew to appreciate the bounty of political and economic freedom that can move a person up the ladder of success. After in-depth study of the politics and philosophy of the American Founding at Claremont McKenna College (B.A. cum laude 1987) and further study of constitutional law at the University of Southern California (J.D. 1990), Debbie found her perfect vocational home at PLF, where she has litigated for the entirety of her 30+ year career 

She litigates in several of PLF’s subject areas, with special emphasis on free speech and property rights cases. She was on the litigation team for PLF’s Supreme Court victory in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky  (striking down a law prohibiting “political” apparel in polling places) and serves on several litigation teams with pending petitions for writs of certiorari. She also frequently files amicus briefs in the Supreme Court, in cases such as Janus v. AFSCME Local 31 (free speech rights for public employees) and Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski  (civil rights litigation and nominal damages). Debbie enjoys mentoring less experienced attorneys and law clerks in the course of her practice. 

In conjunction with litigation, Debbie publishes articles in both the mainstream and scholarly press, including Miranda for Janus: The Government’s Obligation to Ensure Informed Waiver of Constitutional Rights, 55 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. (Spring, 2022) (forthcoming) Amicus briefs: A primer on a vital legal tool for protecting individual liberty, Daily Journal, Two Court Cases Prove Why Free Speech Protections Still Matter at Polling Places, End discrimination against corporate speech, Medical Marijuana and the Limits of the Compassionate Use Act: Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, 12 Chapman L. Rev. 71 (2008), Kick It Up a Notch: First Amendment Protection for Commercial Speech, 54 Case Western Res. L. Rev. 1205 (2004), and Freedom, Responsibility and Risk: Fundamental Premises of Tort Reform, 36 Ind. L. Rev. 645 (2003). She is licensed to practice in California, Arizona, various federal district and circuit courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Debbie is PLF’s original telecommuter. She was an early adopter who started working from home in 1993using DOS and a 48,800bps dial-up modem. Since then, she has furthered the cause of liberty and constitutional government while, alongside her husband, raising and homeschooling two children, both of whom are now graduated with the freedom to pursue their own dreams