Brian Hodges is a senior attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation, where he advocates for liberty-based solutions to the housing crisis and defending the right of individuals to make reasonable use of their property, free of unnecessary and oppressive regulation.
As part of his work at PLF, Brian authored the certiorari petition in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, a U.S. Supreme Court case that placed important constitutional limits on the government’s all-too-common practice of demanding that landowners fund public projects in exchange for a building permit—a practice that has fueled the skyrocketing rents and home prices across the nation. Brian was also on the litigation team that argued Knick v. Township of Scott to the U.S. Supreme Court, securing a homeowner’s right to bring her federal constitutional claims in a federal court.
Brian regularly publishes articles and lectures on property rights at law schools and conferences. His numerous legal publications include Are Critical Area Buffers Unconstitutional? Demystifying the Doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions in 8 Seattle Journal of Environmental Law 1 (2017), in which he argues that permit approvals conditioned on the dedication of a conservation easement—like any other demand for money or property—must be subject to meaningful judicial scrutiny to ensure that the permit process is not being used to take private property. He also wrote an article updating the law of temporary takings in Will Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States Provide a Permanent Fix for Temporary Takings? in 41 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 365 (2014).
Brian came to the liberty movement by an uncommon route: the arts. He played synthesizers and guitar in several Seattle-area bands before studying music composition and literature at the University of Washington. Through those experiences, he came to firmly believe that the goal of art—indeed, the goal of any creative ambition—is to maximize individual freedom and expression, tempered by personal responsibility and ownership, rather than outside oversight or arbitrary restriction. Carrying that philosophy into law school naturally led him to fight for individual rights.
Prior to joining PLF in 2006, Brian served as a judicial clerk at the Washington State Court of Appeals. After that, he worked for the Washington State Office of the Attorney General before entering private practice, where he focused on appellate advocacy for several years. While in private practice, Brian saw first-hand just how hard it is for an individual to stand up against the government (with its bottomless purse and army of lawyers)—even where the government’s actions plainly violate the Constitution. That, and his passion for the Constitution, motivated him to join PLF.
Brian earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Washington before graduating from Seattle University School of Law with honors in 2001. He lives a ferry ride away from Seattle, with his family and an easily distracted Australian Shepherd. He is an avid reader—primarily fantasy/sci-fi and memoirs from ’80s pop stars—and continues to write and perform music.