Erin Wilcox

Attorney

Erin Wilcox is an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, where she litigates to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.  

The daughter of a public school teacher, Erin saw from an early age the power of education to elevate individuals to their fullest potential. At PLF, Erin fights for families—like those in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia—to have educational opportunities for their children free from racial discrimination. 

Erin also battles unjust laws and ridiculous government actions in other arenas as well, like challenging a Texas polling place dress code or fighting a North Carolina regulation that prevents homeowners from rebuilding their burned-down house because the state doesn’t like where it’s located.   

A native Texan, Erin ventured east after high school to earn a B.A. in history and political science from Wake Forest University and a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. After law school, she defended the individual rights of employees at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, advised the D.C. Public Employee Relations Board on labor-management disputes, and returned to the Lone Star State as a litigator with the Texas Public Policy Foundation before joining PLF. 

In addition to liberty, Erin’s loves include college football, Texas BBQ, and a well-made Old Fashioned. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three Zoom-bombing cats. 

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& ...

AFEF v. Montgomery County Public Schools

Parents fight racial balancing efforts that deny educational opportunities

Montgomery County Public Schools is Maryland’s largest public school district and one of the best in the state, with a robust magnet program for gifted and talented students. The district recently changed its admissions criteria for magnet programs at four middle schools ostensibly to make the programs more “equitable.” But the ch ...

Adobe Stock Zito v. North Carolina Coastal Resource Commission; Town of Nags Head

Fighting government’s blurred lines on property rights

All Michael and Cathy Zito wanted to do was rebuild their vacation cottage in Nags Head, North Carolina after fire destroyed it in 2016. But state and local governments denied building permits because the property is now within a no-build zone. The Zitos are left with the only vacant lot in a line of beach homes and can do little more than pitch a ...

Ostrewich v. Trautman

Your shirt or your vote: Fighting to protect free speech at the ballot box

When Jillian Ostrewich entered her Houston, Texas, polling place in 2018, she expected the only decisions she’d face would be on the ballot. Instead, an election judge gave her an ultimatum: turn her shirt inside out or forfeit her vote. Jillian has asked a federal judge to overturn Texas’ election apparel law because the First Amendmen ...

Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco

Government can’t force tenants for life

Mr. Pakdel is a small business owner in Ohio. In 2009 he bought what’s known as a “tenancy in common” (TIC) apartment in San Francisco and leased it to a residential tenant. As part of the purchase, Pakdel signed an agreement with the other owners to convert the building’s six units into condominiums. But the City of San Fra ...

Freddie Linden banned from Dance Linden v. South Dakota High School Activities Association

School’s “girls-only” dance team policy is a constitutional hustle

Fifteen-year-old Freddie Linden of North Sioux Falls, South Dakota can now lace up his dancing shoes as part of his school’s competitive dance team. The accomplished dancer already competes nationally on private dance teams, but the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) established competitive dance as a “female-only& ...

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July 02, 2021

The Washington Post: The purge of Asian American students at Thomas Jefferson High School has begun

This op-ed was coauthored by Asra Q. Nomani, the mother of a 2021 TJ graduate, is co-founder of Coalition for TJ and vice president at Parents Defending Education. On June 5, Principal Ann Bonitatibus of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) stood before the 2021 graduating class and pronounced with a ...

May 26, 2021

Judge rules Coalition for TJ’s fight can continue in federal lawsuit: What it means for racial discrimination in schools

Last Friday morning, federal district court judge Claude Hilton issued an exciting ruling from the bench: despite the Fairfax County School Board's urging, Judge Hilton refused to dismiss the Coalition for TJ's lawsuit alleging that the School Board violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause when it changed the admissions policy fo ...

May 04, 2021

Carolina Journal: North Carolina bureaucrats are about to learn a lesson in the importance of property rights

When is losing the entire value of your property due to government regulation, not an "undue hardship"? According to the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, the answer is whenever your home is on the coast. In October 2016, Michael and Cathy Zito's Nags Head beach house burned to the ground. Luckily no one was hurt, ...

March 10, 2021

The Hill: Parents sue to stop discriminatory admissions at top-ranked high school

It all started with an email. Last summer, as George Floyd's death rocked the nation and COVID-19 kept many Fairfax County Public Schools students at home, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology principal Dr. Ann Bonitatibus sent an email urging students and parents to "think of the privileges you hold that others may ...

March 01, 2021

What is a labor union and why should you care?

With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, this advice applies to teenage superheroes. But it also applies to labor unions, some of the most powerful and influential private organizations in America. When labor unions use their power for good, they help workers join together to negotiate safe working conditions, good salaries, and benefits t ...

January 20, 2021

Houston-area contractors brace for additional racial set-asides

Last year in Texas, both Harris County and the Port of Houston completed their first-ever studies of how public contracts are awarded for everything from paper products to multi-million-dollar building projects. The studies, called disparity studies, found that minority-owned businesses in Harris County and Port of Houston win public contracts at l ...

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