Jessica Thompson

Attorney DC

Jessica Thompson joined PLF’s economic liberty practice group in September 2020. A fierce advocate for individual liberty and free enterprise, Jessica brings experience litigating separation of powers issues in courtrooms and the court of public opinion. 

Jessica believes freedom enables human flourishing. She is passionate about defending individual liberty from a holistic perspective—and fighting for economic liberty is what really gets her blood pumping. For far too long, courts have relegated economic liberty to the junior varsity team of constitutionally protected rights. But in reality, there’s no separating economic liberty from other civil and political liberties. As one of her favorite Institute for Humane Studies professors so eloquently put it, “Economic liberties simply are the physical, social manifestations of the freedom of choice or freedom of conscience that we take so seriously.” 

Jessica came to PLF with litigation experience in a variety of state and federal constitutional law issues. As litigation counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), she presented constitutional challenges to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and COVID-19-related executive actions. She also engaged in appellate advocacy for clients challenging removal protections for SEC administrative law judges and submitted amicus briefs on judicial deference to state supreme courts. 

Before joining the NCLA, Jessica was counsel for the Cause of Action Institute, where she defended a popular Internet of Things company against an FTC enforcement action and supported other victims of agency overreach with amicus briefs in appellate courts. Prior to joining the Cause of Action Institute in 2017, she clerked for the Honorable Mark D. Martin, Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She also practiced insurance defense, including professional and medical malpractice litigation, in North Carolina. 

Jessica graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in history and in peace, war, and defense. During college, she interned at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, NC. Before attending law school, she was a Koch Summer Fellow at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and, later, a marketing associate at the Institute for Humane Studies. After completing the Koch Associate Program in 2011, she returned to North Carolina for law school, during which she was a summer law clerk at the Institute for Justice and served as a research assistant for Professor William P. Marshall. She received her J.D., with honors, from the University of North Carolina, in 2014.   

A Tar Heel “born and bred,” Jessica is a zealous Carolina basketball fan. She lives in Northern Virginia with her fiancé, James, a die-hard Michigan fan (which typically only causes trouble once a year). Together they have a French bulldog, Freddie, named after her favorite French political economist, Frédéric Bastiat 

Mark Shirley and Ole Time Smokehouse v. Town of Farmville, et al.

Food truck entrepreneur defends livelihood from North Carolina town’s unlawful interference

Mark Shirley was making a good living as the general manager of an auto dealership in Eastern North Carolina, but even his comfortable salary couldn’t feed his lifelong passion for cooking. So, in September 2019, after a year of exhaustive research into the restaurant industry, Mark left his profitable job to launch a food truck business call ...

Hanke and Yoo v. Secretary Cardona

Educrats can’t ignore oversight board members appointed by the previous administration

In the final months of the previous administration, the president appointed several people to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES)—a board that advises officials within the agency on research and funding priorities. But the U.S. Department of Education refuses to deliver the appointees’ signed commissions, which are pro ...

Crystal Waldron and Club 519 v. Governor Roy A. Cooper

North Carolina couple fights to save bar from governor’s unlawful COVID power grab

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper unilaterally declared a state of emergency that only he is authorized to end. Since then, the governor has issued a series of executive orders that allow nearly every establishment that sells alcoholic beverages to remain open but that force most private bars (establishments whic ...

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October 04, 2021

Bureaucrats can’t ignore presidential appointments

Have you ever wondered what happens when a lame duck president appoints someone to a position that extends into the next president's term? Typically, once the new president takes office, he can remove appointees of past administrations and replace them with people he believes will advance the policy agenda of the White House. But what ...

July 19, 2021

The Hill: Biden’s Education Department must choose accountability or a ‘Marbury v. Madison’ moment

The Biden presidency largely has been hailed as a return to normalcy, transparency and accountability following the tumultuous years of the Trump administration. Why then, is Biden's Department of Education refusing to allow one of its most important oversight boards to meet? The National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) is an advisory committee ...

July 16, 2021

Agency bureaucrats can’t ignore Marbury v. Madison

***Editor’s note: The Department of Education ignored our demand letter and failed to call the NBES meeting, so now we are seeking the NBES meeting in Court so Hanke, Yoo and NBES can carry out their oversight duties.   History and civics classes across the country teach the importance of political accountability for preserving individua ...

May 21, 2021

Carolina Journal: Why we’re still fighting Gov. Cooper

Crystal Waldron and Club 519 were shuttered for almost a year due to economic favoritism. She suffered through six months of discriminatory treatment — watching former customers have drinks at her direct competitors — with no end in sight and bills piling up. Left without another option, Mrs. Waldron, co-owner of Club 519, initially sued ...

January 26, 2021

North State Journal: Tapped out – Gov. Cooper’s irrational shut-down orders threaten bar owners’ livelihoods

Earlier this month, Gov. Roy Cooper appeared on national cable news touting how he closed North Carolina bars to fight the spread of COVID-19. The problem is most bars in North Carolina are open — Cooper has singled out only one small class of bars that have remained closed. Even under Cooper's executive order implementing ...