Alison Somin

Legal Fellow, Center for the Separation of Powers DC

Alison Somin joined Pacific Legal Foundation in May 2020 as a legal fellow in the Center for the Separation of Powers and part of the equality before the law practice group.

Before joining the Pacific Legal Foundation team, Alison was a special assistant and counsel for over a decade to Gail Heriot, a member of the bipartisan United States Commission on Civil Rights. She also has deep roots in the liberty movement. Alison was a Koch Associate at the National Federation for Independent Business Legal Foundation and, during law school, completed summer clerkships at the Institute for Justice and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. She holds a J.D. from Emory University School of Law and an A.B. in history from Dartmouth College.

Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Daily Journal, Texas Journal of Law and Politics, and The Federalist Society’s Engage magazine and blog.

She lives in northern Virginia with her husband Ilya; two children; and golden retriever Willow. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking and cooking, children’s art projects, and training and exercising Willow.

Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board

Fighting Race-Based Discrimination at Nation’s Top-Ranked High School

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, or TJ, is the nation’s top-ranked public high school. Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) recent changes to TJ’s admissions process specifically aim to reduce the number of Asian-American children—and only Asian-American children—who can attend TJ. The school district& ...

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July 16, 2021

The time has come to end discrimination in public education

Right now, the Supreme Court has given the government the opportunity to weigh in on a case in which Asian-American applicants allege discrimination by Harvard's Admissions Committee. Another suit, alleging anti-Asian discrimination at Yale, has been filed in federal district court. Some selective high schools have also revamped their admissions pr ...

July 12, 2021

The Hill: Obama’s education guidance was terrible policy — and it’s about to come back

*Editor’s note: On July 23, 2021, PLF filed a regulatory comment letter with the Department of Education about nondiscriminatory administration of school discipline. You can read that letter here. *** Martin Luther King Jr. famously dreamed that his children would be judged not "by the color of their skin, but by the content of their ...

March 15, 2021

The Hill: Biden executive order will lead to due process deficits on campus

Is due process in sexual assault proceedings on college campuses under new threat? Unfortunately, a new executive order likely will have that effect. Sexual assault is reprehensible. There is no serious question about whether it should be tolerated on campus. The only real question is: What, specifically, is the federal government's role in prevent ...

October 05, 2020

The Hill: California’s Prop 16 would allow discrimination against women

Proposition 16 seeks to repeal the provision of the California Constitution that prohibits discrimination and preferential treatment on the basis of race and sex in public education, employment and contracting. That provision was put there by Prop 209 in 1996. Little has been said about how this repeal effort could have the unintended consequence o ...

September 09, 2020

Colleges and students are better off now that Obama era “Dear Colleague” letter is rescinded

Recently, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) rescinded a Dear Colleague letter that addressed the role of Title IX coordinators on college campuses. This is excellent news for all the reasons I discussed in an op-ed in The Hill calling for the guidance letter's repeal. What do Title IX coordinators do? Their ...

July 31, 2020

The Hill: To cripple the abusive campus ‘sex bureaucracy,’ rein in the Title IX coordinators

If you want to entrench a government policy, make sure someone's job depends on enforcing it. Even if that person isn't a true believer in the program initially, she will be by the time her first paycheck arrives — and increasingly after that. That's certainly the case with the education system's Title IX coordinators, who ...