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.

Key in Lock El Papel v. City of Seattle

Fighting unlawful eviction bans masked as a pandemic response

In the wake of COVID-19, Washington State and Seattle joined a number of cities and states to enact emergency eviction bans that eliminated landlords’ ability to evict tenants who violate lease terms, such as by neglecting to pay their rent. Seattle added an ordinance that prohibits landlords from seeking full repayment for up to a year from ...

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 ...

contractor 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 ...

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 ...

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August 20, 2020

Deseret News: How a proposed Utah Bar rule could limit lawyers’ free speech

The Utah Bar is considering a misguided rule that would impose a "code of civility" on Utah lawyers. The rule is vague, giving regulators too much discretion to punish lawyers who work on controversial issues. It will make it much harder for them to do their jobs well and limit their ability to fight for ...

August 13, 2020

New York Daily News: Canceling rent won’t solve housing woes

As Americans stagger through a bewildering pandemic summer, buffeted by shutdowns and job losses, millions face each coming month with an additional dread: making their rent payments. In response to the crisis, numerous states and localities have enacted eviction bans and rent deferral schemes. Unfortunately, such extreme measures are unjust, unlaw ...

July 07, 2020

The Hill: Supreme Court ensures more educational opportunity for kids

Last week, in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Supreme Court held that states cannot exclude religious schools from tax-credit scholarship programs. Parents who want to send their kids to schools that align with their values cannot be shut out of school choice programs, ensuring more educational opportunity for kids around the country ...

May 28, 2020

Seattle’s rent moratorium would hurt renters and landlords—and it’s unconstitutional

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle City Council issued a resolution calling on state and federal government to "impose an immediate moratorium on residential and commercial rent payments…such that no Seattleite should be required to pay rent during this health emergency or accumulate debt for unpaid rent." This extreme proposal goe ...

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 ...

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