Jim Manley

Attorney

Jim Manley is an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, where he leads the free speech practice group. Freedom and happiness are inseparable—Jim has dedicated his career to protecting and expanding both through strategic litigation and policymaking. 

In his first case after graduating from law school, he sued his alma mater and won at the Colorado Supreme Court, guaranteeing the right of self-defense on college campuses. Since then, he has successfully challenged many unconstitutional laws—including striking down part of the Kentucky Constitution, saving a man from jail for the “crime” of repairing windshields, preventing a foster child from being ripped away from her pre-adoptive parents because of her race, defending the right of a midwife to use the title she spent a lifetime earning, and helping to enact laws protecting free speech on college campuses. His work defending free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, taxpayer rights, and property rights has set important precedents for liberty in state and federal courts across the country.  

Jim joined PLF in 2018 to advance the fight for liberty with the most impactful public interest law firm litigating today. Before joining PLF, he litigated at the Goldwater Institute and Mountain States Legal Foundation. 

A native of Michigan, he followed his future wife to Arizona State University, where he graduated with a double major in political science and journalism. He earned his J.D. from the Uni-versity of Colorado Law School, where he was an associate editor of the law review and president of the Federalist Society. Before attending law school, he was a professional ski instructor in Telluride, Colorado. He is licensed to practice law in Arizona and Colorado. 

Jim lives in Phoenix with his wife, Marlene, and their children, Milton and Cora. They have a cat named Martha Washington.  

Art and Antique Dealers League of America v. Seggos

Antique dealers fight for right to display what they’re allowed to sell

Manhattan’s antique district is filled with galleries where customers can physically inspect valuable antiques before buying them. But shops cannot display all the merchandise they are allowed to sell. Federal law allows sales of antiques containing ivory that are at least 100 years old, but if antiques contain more than 20% ivory, state law ...

The Clementine Co. v. Cuomo, The Clementine Co. v. de Blasio

Mayor de Blasio’s unequal COVID restrictions silence New York theaters, comedy clubs

New York City actress and theater manager Catherine Russell began her starring role in Perfect Crime in 1987. Over that time, she missed only four days—to attend family weddings—a record-setting run of more than 12,000 performances that lasted until March 2020 when the pandemic was declared. At that point, Catherine implemented extensive COVID ...

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 ...

American Society of Journalists and Authors v. Bonta

California’s freelancer law destroys journalists’ freedom, autonomy

In an effort to regulate the employment status of independent contractors, California passed a law forcing companies in the state to reclassify most freelancers as employees. Under AB 5, freelance journalists and photographers must cap their submissions at 35 per year, per publisher. Anything greater, and they become employees, losing their profess ...

Debbie Pulley v. Janice Izlar, President of the Georgia Board of Nursing

Georgia midwife sues to continue speaking truthfully about her profession

Debbie Pulley has been a Certified Professional Midwife in Georgia for 24 years, both working as a midwife and advocating for midwives. The state’s rules changed in 2015, allowing only licensed nurses to practice midwifery in Georgia. So Debbie turned her efforts to reforming Georgia’s laws and advocating for access to midwifery care. B ...

Kotler Case Kotler v. Webb

California’s next frontier as speech police: your license plate

Jon Kotler is a First Amendment professor at the University of Southern California (USC). He is also a huge fan of the London-based Fulham Football Club and a longtime season ticket holder. Wishing to celebrate the team’s recent success, Jon applied for a personalized license plate with the letters “COYW,” which stands for “ ...

Latest Posts

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June 03, 2021

Free speech protects ideas, including the right to truthfully advertise

Free speech is all around us, even in ways that might not be immediately obvious. We talk a lot about the First Amendment's free speech protections during campaign season, when individuals want to express a deeply held idea, when they want to refrain from speaking, and when an idea is deemed "unacceptable" by certain groups. ...

April 30, 2021

Daily Journal: In AFP v. Beccera, Supreme Court has the opportunity to bolster free speech 

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard argument in a case asking whether you have the right to privacy when you make charitable donations.  Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, 19-251 (S. Ct., filed Aug. 26, 2019); The case involves a California requirement that all nonprofit organizations soliciting donations within Califo ...

February 16, 2021

The Hill: The PRO Act’s ‘ABC test’ fails American workers

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act threatens the freedom of millions of independent contractors — at a moment when Americans most need freedom and flexibility in their employment. The PRO Act, after failing to pass in the last Congress, was recently reintroduced. With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives and Senate, and with t ...

September 30, 2020

The Hill: End it, don’t mend it: Legislative ‘fix’ to California’s AB 5 is a disaster

When California's controversial AB 5 law took effect Jan. 1, independent contractors suddenly found their ability to make a living in the Golden State in jeopardy. The public outcry from entrepreneurial freelancers and gig workers, who faced lost work opportunities and declining incomes, was powerful. Their protest intensified a couple of months la ...

September 01, 2020

California passed a law trying to “fix” AB-5, but simply showed the damage its causing freelancers

The California Legislature has been busy tinkering with AB 5—the disastrous ban on independent contracting it enacted last year that has crippled freelance journalism and driven Uber and Lyft to the brink of abandoning the Golden State. AB 2257—the "fix it" bill just passed to address the many practical problems created by AB 5—restores some ...

August 21, 2020

California freelancers’ fight to earn a living is alive and well

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday allowed an appeal to proceed that challenges freelancing restrictions imposed by California's Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5). The State of California had asked for the case to be thrown out, but the Court did not grant that relief. Instead, the Court ruled that two separate appeals brought by ...

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