Joshua P. Thompson

Senior Attorney

Sacramento

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights.

Joshua was raised in a small northern Wisconsin town known as the Home of the Hodag.  [Google it.] While in high school, he was a Rotary Exchange Student in Germany.  He attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was first introduced to the liberty movement.  He worked in the Wisconsin Governor’s Office during college and was active in both the College Republicans and College Libertarians – all five of them. After college he worked on his father’s gubernatorial campaign, before heading off to Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Before his flight Germany, Joshua was given a copy of Atlas Shrugged, which, being the only English book he had that year, was read approximately 500 times.

After his Fulbright year, Joshua attended law school at Michigan State University, where he graduated cum laude, served on the Michigan State Law Review and Trial Practice Institute, was active in the Federalist Society, and played guitar in the law school band.  During his first law school summer he was a Charles Koch Summer Fellow where he clerked at the Federalist Society and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  The second summer he clerked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. Those experiences solidified his desire to fight for individual liberty, and he has been able to fight for individuals’ freedom at PLF ever since.

When he’s not fighting for liberty, Joshua spends most of his time with his wife and baby daughter. He also supports all Wisconsin sports teams, enjoys traveling to see friends in Germany, and he hopes to soon become a National Master in chess.

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights.

Joshua was raised in a small northern Wisconsin town known as the Home of the Hodag.  [Google it.] While in high school, he was a Rotary Exchange Student in Germany.  He attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was first introduced to the liberty movement.  He worked in the Wisconsin Governor’s Office during college and was active in both the College Republicans and College Libertarians – all five of them. After college he worked on his father’s gubernatorial campaign, before heading off to Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Before his flight Germany, Joshua was given a copy of Atlas Shrugged, which, being the only English book he had that year, was read approximately 500 times.

After his Fulbright year, Joshua attended law school at Michigan State University, where he graduated cum laude, served on the Michigan State Law Review and Trial Practice Institute, was active in the Federalist Society, and played guitar in the law school band.  During his first law school summer he was a Charles Koch Summer Fellow where he clerked at the Federalist Society and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  The second summer he clerked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. Those experiences solidified his desire to fight for individual liberty, and he has been able to fight for individuals’ freedom at PLF ever since.

When he’s not fighting for liberty, Joshua spends most of his time with his wife and baby daughter. He also supports all Wisconsin sports teams, enjoys traveling to see friends in Germany, and he hopes to soon become a National Master in chess.

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Personal Liberties

Linden v. South Dakota High School Activities Association

School’s “girls-only” dance team policy is a constitutional hustle

Fifteen-year-old Freddie Linden of North Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has been dancing since age seven. He is now an accomplished performer who competes nationally on a number of private dance teams. But Freddie cannot join his high school’s competitive dance team—because he is a boy. The South Dakota High School Activities Association established competitive dance as a “female-only” sport. The rule is a misguided effort to comply with federal Title IX requirement that violates Freddie’s constitutional right to equal protection of the laws.

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Personal Liberties

Robinson v. Wentzell

Race-based quotas in Connecticut schools are unconstitutional and hurt Black and Hispanic students

Hartford, Connecticut, runs a number of world-class magnet schools. Their success has led to the use of a lottery to decide who can attend. But under a state-mandated racial quota, enrollment must be at least 25% white or Asian. This means Black and Hispanic students are turned away if their admission would push minority enrollment above 75%—even if seats remain empty. Representing seven Hartford families, PLF sued to restore the constitutional rights of Black and Hispanic students to have the same educational opportunities as all children in Connecticut.

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Personal Liberties

Nemhauser v. City of Mount Dora

City apologizes after violating First Amendment rights

What started as artistic expression in Mount Dora, Florida, escalated into a bureaucratic nightmare for Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski. When the couple painted a van Gogh-style “The Starry Night” mural on a wall outside their house, the city declared the art “graffiti” because it didn’t match the color of the house. But when Nancy and Lubomir responded by painting a similar mural on the house, the city branded both as illegal “signs,” and fined them hundreds of dollars per day with orders to paint over the mural. On behalf of Nancy and Lubomir, PLF is challenged the city. We argued that banning such artistic murals is an abusive interpretation of the city’s sign ordinance, and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. In July 2018, Nancy and Lubomir declared victory when the city council voted to settle the lawsuit and allow the mural to remain.

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Government is blocking Black kids from great schools while seats sit empty

In February, eight Black and Hispanic families filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Connecticut State Department of Education’s race-based enrollment quotas for Hartford’s magnet schools. This policy mandates that 25% of a … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Answering the Minerva Dairy questions at Overlawyered

If you aren’t already a regular reader of Overlawyered, you should check it out. Walter Olson does a magnificent job pointing out and explaining the seen and unseen costs of … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Opening brief filed in challenge to Wisconsin’s butter taste test

We filed our opening brief in the appeal to our challenge to Wisconsin’s irrational butter grading law. I have written about this case a number of times, but the essence … ›

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Op-Ed

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Racial discrimination is alive and well in St. Louis schools; now let’s end it

Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch April 11, 2018. If you thought school segregation was a thing of the past, guess again. The practice of denying educational opportunities to African-American … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Court upholds Wisconsin’s irrational butter grading law

The court ruled against Minerva Dairy’s claims that the Wisconsin butter grading law violates the Constitution.

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Post

By Joshua P. Thompson

OCR accepts PLF’s complaint and opens an investigation into MSHSL dance discrimination

This is the first vital and important step in ensuring that Minnesota boys have an equal opportunity to dance.

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