January 3, 2018

PLF mourns the passing of our friend and colleague, Reed Hopper

By Pacific Legal Foundation

It is with deep sadness that we convey the news that one of our leading litigators, Senior Attorney Reed Hopper, tragically passed away on Christmas.

We wish to extend to Reed’s wife, Cathy, and all his family, our profound condolences. 

A man of conviction, courage and compassion, Reed was a loving family man and generous friend and on the professional level, a brilliant litigator and renowned Supreme Court advocate.

In his own words, Reed “always had a strong patriotic spirit and a desire to serve his country.” Before joining PLF in 1987, Reed served as an Environmental Protection Officer and Hearing Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he “gained a love for the law.” Spurred by that love and his reverence for “our constitutional way of life,” he “could not tolerate injustice.” Joining PLF allowed him to translate those sentiments into action. It gave him the opportunity, as he put it, “to rectify unjust actions perpetrated by overreaching government.” At PLF, he relished “getting up each morning to fight for a just cause.” 

Reed won precedent-setting cases at all levels of the judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • In 2006, he won the landmark Supreme Court case of Rapanos v. United States, which blocked Clean Water Act regulators from expanding their power to cover, potentially, every pond and pothole in the country.
  • Two years ago he was victorious again in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, in which the Supreme Court agreed that landowners can appeal to the courts when their property is designated as federal wetlands. This historic ruling ensures that federal agencies across the board are accountable to the law and the Constitution.
  • In an important Clean Water Act case currently before the Supreme Court—National Manufacturers Association v. U.S.—Reed represented property owners from across the nation fighting for their right to bring challenges to EPA rules in federal court. We expect a decision early this year.

Reed graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor’s Degree in German and major work in biochemistry. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Reed will be sorely missed by all who benefited from his friendship and counsel. At PLF, his memory and inspiration will empower us to keep fighting for the causes dear to his heart, and ours.

Reed Hopper testifies before the U.S. House Committee on the Environment, November 29, 2017

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