Ethan W. Blevins

Attorney Washington

Ethan Blevins joined PLF in August 2014 and works in Salt Lake City, Utah. He litigates cases involving the First Amendment, property rights, and the separation of powers.

Ethan began his trek toward liberty after moving to China in his late teens. He had grown up admiring his great uncle, who had moved to China during the Communist Revolution. Throughout his youth and early adulthood, Ethan believed in those faulty ideals. His time in China, where he studied martial arts full time, started to break that spell. While there, he saw the poverty, corruption, and oppression that are the true legacies of communism. Over time, he became convinced that only individual liberty can bring about peace, prosperity, and human potential.

Ethan began his legal career at Duke University, where he received his JD and an LLM in international and comparative law. He then clerked for Justice Don Willett of the Supreme Court of Texas—a true friend to liberty. Inspired by Justice Willett’s staunch belief in individual rights, Ethan decided to devote his legal career to freedom.

Outside of work, Ethan is a husband, father, and geek. He is in the process of publishing his debut novel, the first installment of a fantasy series. When he isn’t chasing around his four small children, he writes fantasy, plays nerdy games at a local gaming store, and serves in a local church congregation.

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 ...

Minnesota Assoc. Builders and Contractors v. Minneapolis Public School District

Bulldozing unfair, illegal union-rigged construction scheme

With 75 buildings and 35,000 students, there’s plenty of construction work in the Minneapolis School District. But many hardworking Minnesotans never get a shot at a school project. In 2004, the district adopted a project labor agreement, or PLA, that favors politically powerful unions over nonunion contractors. This type of agreement forces ...

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. Similarly, in 2018, a Dallas-area election judge ordered Tony Ortiz to turn his “MAGA” hat ins ...

Freedom Foundation v. Washington Dept. of Ecology

State agency Scrooge violates Santa’s First Amendment rights

Each year around the holidays, Washington-based Freedom Foundation sends staff members to the lobbies of state agency buildings. These staffers—dressed as Santa—hand out leaflets that explain state employees’ right to opt out of union dues. Allowed by most agencies, the Washington Department of Ecology in 2017 instead prohibited the leafl ...

Wilkins v. United States of America

Government bait-and-switch tramples on property rights and peace of mind

Wil Wilkins and Jane Stanton live next to Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest. A road that crosses both of their properties is the result of a limited-use easement granted to the U.S. Forest Service by the properties’ previous owners in 1962. The general public is not supposed to use the road, but in 2006 the Forest Service began adver ...

Rentberry v. City of Seattle

Seattle’s unconstitutional rent-bidding law blocks innovation, free speech

Rentberry is a small San Francisco-based startup that connects landlords and renters through a rent-bidding website. The company hopes to expand its service to Seattle, however city council adopted a one-year moratorium on the service over concerns it might violate existing rental law and might inflate housing costs—despite no evidence that eithe ...

Latest Posts

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March 16, 2020

The Hill: It’s up to the Supreme Court to teach Seattle ‘Free Speech 101’

Imagine a law that required Republicans to contribute to Bernie Sanders's or Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Or that the Hollywood left must donate to President Trump's reelection. Would you support such a law? Of course not ― most of us would find such a law to be not only unconstitutional but an affront to one's ...

February 20, 2020

National Review: Ending the Administrative State Is an Uphill and Necessary Battle for a Free Nation

James Madison defined tyranny as the "accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands." Yet, according to many prominent progressives, this venerable principle that inspired our constitutional structure is an existential threat to the modern architecture of the federal government. Take, for instance, a New Repub ...

January 31, 2020

The Wall Street Journal: Seattle and the State Supreme Court Wage War on Property Rights

Landlords are forced to rent to the first person who walks in—even if he has a criminal record. Affordable-housing shortages are an abiding challenge for cities around the nation. But often policies meant to alleviate the problem aggravate it instead. That's certainly the case in Seattle, where the City Council imposed a pair of ordinances ...

January 29, 2020

Seattle’s new campaign finance laws violate immigrant’s First Amendment rights in attempt to reverse Citizens United

This January marks the 10th anniversary of one of the most polarizing Supreme Court cases in recent history: Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. Perhaps intentionally, during the same month, Seattle city officials are pushing through a package of sweeping campaign finance restrictions that defies the ruling in Citizens United. The City ...

December 30, 2019

A Washington court denies Santa’s freedom of speech

In early December, a federal court in Washington held that government has broad leeway to kick people off public property if the government doesn't like what they have to say. The Christmas season timing of the ruling is ironic: The federal court held that the Washington Department of Ecology did not violate the First Amendment ...

November 14, 2019

The Hill: Seattle is trying to handcuff landlords — so they’re fighting to protect their rights

On November 14, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court delivered a disappointing decision for the pair of cases titled Yim v. City of Seattle. Earlier this year, Ethan Blevins wrote in The Hill about these cases and Seattle’s ongoing assault on property rights. ~~~ Last week, the Washington Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionalit ...

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