Daniel M. Ortner

Attorney Sacramento

Daniel M. Ortner joined Pacific Legal Foundation in the fall of 2018, focusing on the First Amendment, property rights, economic liberty, and curtailing the overreach of the administrative state.

Daniel graduated Summa Cum Laude and first in his class from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. He comes to  Pacific Legal Foundation after two appellate clerkships on the Utah Supreme Court and the Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Daniel is grateful to have been mentored by incredible jurists with a passion for originalism and for bringing empirical tools such as corpus linguistics to bear on statutory interpretation. He has also published extensively on First Amendment topics including freedom of speech, freedom of association, and free exercise of religion.

Daniel was born in Israel and moved to the United States at a young age. He is grateful for the incredible blessings of liberty that he has enjoyed in the United States and particularly for the freedoms to think, speak, worship, and associate that are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Outside of work, Daniel spends time with his wife and two beautiful daughters. He loves to play board games, watch movies, and serve in his local church congregation.

Daniel is currently licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as the Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits. He is not yet licensed in California.

Kissel v. Seagull

Fighting unconstitutional burdens on free speech in fundraising

Adam Kissel looked forward to lending his longtime experience in the liberty movement and higher education to help raise money for the nonprofit Jack Miller Center’s civic education program. But he soon discovered several states have overly burdensome registration and reporting requirements for paid solicitors. Connecticut, in particular, req ...

Ghost Golf, Inc., et al. v. Newsom

Small businesses fight Gov. Newsom’s unlawful color-code shutdown scheme

At Ghost Golf in Fresno, the weeks leading up to Halloween mark the peak season for the haunted house-themed miniature golf center, earning enough money for owner Daryn Coleman and his family to weather the springtime slowdown. This year, however, Ghost Golf has been closed since March, haunted by Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-related busines ...

Ramirez et al. v. Lamont et al.

Connecticut nail salon owner fights for fair treatment under “shutdown” orders

In early March 2020, Luis Ramirez closed his Hartford, CT, nail salon, following Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders for statewide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luis and his wife, Rosiris, have since struggled to earn income and pay rent on their salon. When Luis and Rosiris thought they’d be able to reopen on May 20, they scrap ...

Board room Creighton Meland v. Alex Padilla, Secretary of State of California

Fighting California’s discriminatory woman quota law

Last year, California enacted a woman quota law, which requires all publicly traded companies that are incorporated or headquartered in the state to have a certain number of females on their boards of directors. This law ignores that women are making great strides in the boardroom without a government mandate, and therefore perpetuates the myth tha ...

Navigable Waters Cases

Fighting government’s make-believe, illegal definition of navigable waters

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has a seemingly simple purpose: protect the navigable waters of the United States from pollution. The federal agencies charged with carrying out and enforcing the law, however, have expanded the definition of “navigable waters” several times since the Act went on the books in 1972. Represented by PLF free of ch ...

Latest Posts

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February 22, 2021

The government can’t prevent you from fundraising for nonprofits

When Adam Kissel, a longtime advocate for civic education, agreed to give the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America's Founding Principles and History (JMC) a helping hand with fundraising, he assumed he would simply be communicating with potential donors who might be open to supporting the organization's mission. Instead, Kissel found himself on ...

December 30, 2020

Our freedom of speech doesn’t depend on what you’re speaking about

The right to protest government is one of the oldest and most revered American traditions. From the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights movement to the modern-day Tea Party and Black Lives Matter movements, Americans of all political beliefs and backgrounds have always turned out to protest for justice and liberty. As the Supreme ...

December 16, 2020

It should be game over for Nevada’s shutdown policies

In recent years, businesses that combine the fun of playing games with drinks and the atmosphere of a bar or tavern have become extremely popular. From e-sports lounges to arcades and board game shops, these locations have become destinations for adults to socialize and enjoy a fun night out. Individuals come to these businesses primarily ...

December 14, 2020

The Hill: The governor who stole Christmas — and the California businesses fighting back

Small business owners across California have struggled to survive this year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdown orders. But with the holiday season beginning, Gov. Gavin Newsom, much like the Grinch, has stolen what little festive cheer remained. California already had one of the nation's more restrictive COVID-19 regimes a ...

December 10, 2020

The Detroit News: Professors cannot be excluded from First Amendment rights

At its best, academia is a place where controversial ideas are expressed and students are exposed to unsettling and uncomfortable topics. But increasingly conformity and coddling have become the norm. And professors who dare to say anything provocative or contrary to the prevailing narrative are being targeted, punished or even fired, even at publi ...

December 01, 2020

The Salt Lake Tribune: Herbert’s unconstitutional power grab threatens state’s separation of powers

On Nov. 9, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert once again declared a state of emergency in Utah, imposing a mask mandate, limits on business activities and restrictions on social gatherings. What is most notable about the governor's actions is that this is the second time in eight months that he has limited social and business activity ...

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