Joe Luppino-Esposito

Deputy Legal Policy Director DC

Joe Luppino-Esposito is deputy legal policy director at Pacific Legal Foundation, where he develops solutions and advocates for reforms for states and the federal government.  

Joe joined PLF to connect with others who want to fight government overreach and defend individual liberty. He’s learned that the risk in pushing hard in service of more liberty for more people is worth the reward. It’s resulted in bills becoming law (Schoolhouse Rock-style), executive orders (SNL’s Schoolhouse Rock-style), and regulations finalized or canceled (no one’s preferred style of government), plus a few vetoes, pardons, and headlines along the way. 

Joe’s focus in the past year has been in restoring the separation of powers when it comes to how governors and other executives issue emergency orders. The constant in Joe’s portfolio is educating and activating citizens and public officials to reform government to work for the people, not against them. 

Prior to PLF, Joe was director of Rule of Law Initiatives at the Due Process Institute, working on bipartisan criminal justice reform in Congress, and was directly involved in the passage of the First Step Act (as in, went-to-the-signing-ceremony-involved). Prior to that, he worked at Right on Crime at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, leading their federal efforts to advance conservative criminal justice principles in Washington. He also previously served as a visiting fellow for overcriminalization at The Heritage Foundation. He has worked on state policy issues, including public pensions, federalism, healthcare, and labor law.  

A New Jersey native, Joe earned a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark and served as editor-in-chief of Circuit Review law journal. He earned a B.A. in government and American studies from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Joe and his wife, Amanda, plus their two kids and two cats (Reagan and Jack Bauer), live in western Loudoun County, Virginia, which is a key part of Joe’s attempt to be the most outside-the-Beltway “insider” in Washington. He gets overly involved in his community, from his kids’ school, to local politics, to the homeowners association. That sort of thing used to be a badge of overworked honor, but instead it has helped him to realize that he’s getting old. 

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April 07, 2021

The Hill: The Biden administration should join the fight against overcriminalization

Four years ago, no one would have believed that the administration of former President Trump would have been defined, in part, by major criminal justice reforms. The bipartisan First Step Act rightfully made plenty of headlines and received praise from across the political spectrum. But one executive order in the final days did not garner ...

April 02, 2021

Locked-down Congress opens its doors to PLF

It's not often that you have to prep for a Supreme Court argument and congressional testimony in the same trip, but such was the case for PLF attorney Wen Fa. With short notice, Wen was asked to testify at a March 18 hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil ...

February 18, 2021

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers scandal

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo's intentionally false reporting on COVID deaths in nursing homes last year is shameful by itself, it also highlights a larger problem with emergency orders issued by governors alone without other checks. While there are now over a dozen New York State senators who want to limit the governor's emergency power, the ...

January 13, 2021

The President vetoed a bill that would have decimated family fisheries and the ocean

Thanks to a last-minute veto by President Donald Trump on January 1, dozens of American family fishing businesses will be saved from going out of business, and the ocean ecosystem will be better protected—both of which were being threatened by a bill that was more rhetoric than science. In mid-December, Congress passed S. 906, the ...

January 06, 2021

Washington Examiner: Pandemic silver lining: Getting rid of needless regulation

In the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, one constant theme is government overreach. Since the early failure to control the outbreak, government executives have overcompensated by taking a risk-averse, iron fist approach, rather than looking for ways to mitigate or temper regulations to minimize the economic hardship that also kills. In Marc ...

November 23, 2020

The Hill: Say ‘no thanks’ to Thanksgiving mandates

Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get any stranger, it's likely that your governor has invited himself or herself to your Thanksgiving dinner. And no, they aren't bringing sweet potatoes. Instead, they're bringing civil and criminal fines, and maybe even jail time. They are joined by mayors and other state and local officials who are ...

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