Charles Yates is an attorney in Pacific Legal Foundation’s environmental practice group, where he litigates to defend private property rights and uphold the structural protections guaranteed by the Constitution’s separation of powers.
His inspiration to focus on environmental law comes from the special case of government overreach it presents, where individual rights too often give way to collectivist notions and where misguided government policies create a cure worse than the disease. Charles has a particularly strong belief in the important role that the productive use of natural resources plays for human flourishing. To these ends, his practice at PLF focuses primarily on the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and related regulatory issues.
Charles credits his strong belief in the principles of individual liberty and limited, constitutional government to his family. His personal philosophy developed further while studying the works of Adam Smith, John Locke, James Madison, and other classical liberals. Born and raised in Australia, Charles has always admired the U.S. Constitution as the purest and most enduring application of the ideals of individual liberty and limited government. It was these influences that impressed upon him the desire to pursue a career in public interest litigation.
After obtaining a B.A. in political science and international relations from the University of Western Australia, Charles moved to the U.S., where he earned his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law. During law school, he served as president of his school’s chapter of The Federalist Society and was an editor of the University of Baltimore Law Review. Other highlights from his law school days include an internship at the Cato Institute and a clerkship at the Institute for Justice.
Charles lives in Sacramento with his wife Maxine. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and playing the bass guitar.