David McDonald


Property Rights

A lifelong lover of liberty, David McDonald joined Pacific Legal Foundation’s property rights team in 2023.  

As the son of two former gold miners who spent his childhood visiting ghost towns and old mines in the Mojave Desert, he has always been fascinated by the frontier spirit that built this nation and sees the defense of private property rights as absolutely vital to keeping that spirit alive. After reading about eminent domain abuse for the first time in college (and Justice Clarence Thomas’ amazing dissent in Kelo), he realized he needed to become a lawyer so he could put a stop to the government’s flagrant violation of private property rights.  

Prior to joining PLF, David was an attorney with Mountain States Legal Foundation in Colorado, where his practice primarily focused on the bureaucratic overreach and intransigence of federal land use agencies like the Bureau of Land Management. While at Mountain States, David represented individuals and small businesses whose rights had been violated by the government before both state and federal courts and administrative tribunals. Before that, he worked as a legal associate with the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, where he authored Supreme Court amicus briefs and scholarly articles on a number of constitutional topics. 

David grew up in Southern California and received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles before attending Columbia University for law school. 

When not trying to ruin government employees’ days, David can usually be found doing something nerdy like playing board games, arguing about the finer points of Tolkien lore, and taking pub trivia way too seriously. 

David is a member of the bar only in the states of New York and Colorado.