Joshua P. Thompson

Director of Legal Operations Sacramento

Joshua Thompson is Pacific Legal Foundation’s Director of Legal Operations. His practice has covered all of PLF’s practice areas with a particular focus on equality before the law.

Joshua joined PLF as an attorney in 2007 after graduating cum laude from Michigan State College of Law. In law school, he was an assistant editor of the Michigan State Law Review and a member of the Trial Practice Institute. During law school Joshua clerked at the Federalist Society, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Wisconsin Public Defender. He was a Charles Koch Summer Fellow in 2005.

Joshua’s belief in liberty began while working in his father’s restaurant. It was furthered during his time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with distinction with a triple major in political science, German, and international relations. Ultimately, his desire to work for a freer society was crystallized during a Fulbright year in Germany, where he read and studied as much libertarian and free market texts as he could find.

Joshua married a PLF attorney in 2013. They have two young children. In his sparse free time he plays chess (competently), guitar (poorly), and follows Wisconsin sports teams (depressingly).

McKinney v. Vilsack

Race-based COVID-19 farm loan forgiveness denies equal treatment to Texas farmer

Jarrod McKinney began his farming journey about eight years ago with help from a federal loan for beginning farmers. Like many farmers in the Texarkana region, Jarrod raises cattle, tending today to 60 pairs. Like many farmers facing economic hardship in the pandemic’s aftermath, Jarrod was hopeful when he heard about a farm loan forgiveness ...

cedar_point-Nursery Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid

Supreme Court affirms property rights for California fruit growers

Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company are California growers that produce fruit for millions of Americans. Collectively, they employ around 3,000 Californians. In 2015, the United Farm Workers (UFW) viewed the workers as ripe for the picking and sent union organizers to storm the workplaces during harvest time to encourage them to unionize ...

AFEF v. Montgomery County Public Schools

Parents fight racial balancing efforts that deny educational opportunities

Montgomery County Public Schools is Maryland’s largest public school district and one of the best in the state, with a robust magnet program for gifted and talented students. The district recently changed its admissions criteria for magnet programs at four middle schools ostensibly to make the programs more “equitable.” But the ch ...

First Amendment lawsuit filed in federal court Ogilvie v. Gordon

California’s DMV strays from its own lane to act as speech police

To Chris Ogilvie’s military friends, he’s known as OG—a nickname stemming from boot camp. To his friends back home, Chris is known as Woolf. So, upon his honorable discharge following four tours overseas including Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army veteran bought a car and applied for a personalized license plate spelled “OGWOOLF.&# ...

Board room Creighton Meland v. Shirley N. Weber, Secretary of State of California

Fighting California’s discriminatory woman quota law

Last year, California enacted a woman quota law, which requires all publicly traded companies that are incorporated or headquartered in the state to have a certain number of females on their boards of directors. This law ignores that women are making great strides in the boardroom without a government mandate, and therefore perpetuates the myth tha ...

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 “ ...

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August 02, 2021

The Hill: Pulling back the curtain on DC’s rulemakers?

For all matters of government policy, there's usually someone to praise or blame. When it comes to agency rulemaking, however, it is not often so clear who's responsible. A new bipartisan bill in front of Congress could fix that. With federal regulation, all executive action should, in theory, be consistent with law and reflect the ...

July 29, 2021

Still no place to live: The local barriers to the accessory dwelling unit revolution

ADUs are small homes located on the same lot as an existing single- or multi-family home, such as a garage apartment, a basement unit, or a backyard cottage. While ADUs can't solve the country's housing crisis, they are an important piece of a property rights and free market-based solution.   ...

July 29, 2021

Texas Bureaucrats Cannot Reclassify Private Properties as Public Beach

Private property rights are one of America's core founding principles. As John Adams astutely noted, "Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist." But even in states that pride themselves for upholding such principles, private property rights are often challenged by bureaucrats. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) recently has threatened the ...

July 27, 2021

As pandemic subsides, why are governors still exercising “emergency powers”?

As the COVID-19 pandemic gradually recedes from the highs we saw in 2020, we should carefully reflect on what the past 15 months of a public health emergency have taught us. As a longtime advocate for individual liberty and limited government, here's the principal lesson I take from our pandemic experience: The separation of governmental ...

July 26, 2021

The Hill: COVID-19 eviction bans expose deeper hostility toward property ownership

What would you think if the government dictated that you won't be paid for more than a year but you must keep working? As unlikely as you might consider such a scenario, this hypothetical is Howard Iten's reality. Iten, a commercial landlord in Los Angeles, is under Los Angeles County's pandemic-driven mandate to continue running ...

July 21, 2021

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s gun violence emergency order shows why unchecked executive powers are so dangerous

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governors across the country claimed extraordinary emergency power. For weeks and then for months and then for over a year, they used this purported authority to unilaterally shut down businesses, enact health and safety measures, and issue sweeping emergency orders. Such broad emergency power may have made sense in th ...

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