Joshua P. Thompson

Senior Attorney

Sacramento

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights.

Joshua was raised in a small northern Wisconsin town known as the Home of the Hodag.  [Google it.] While in high school, he was a Rotary Exchange Student in Germany.  He attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was first introduced to the liberty movement.  He worked in the Wisconsin Governor’s Office during college and was active in both the College Republicans and College Libertarians – all five of them. After college he worked on his father’s gubernatorial campaign, before heading off to Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Before his flight Germany, Joshua was given a copy of Atlas Shrugged, which, being the only English book he had that year, was read approximately 500 times.

After his Fulbright year, Joshua attended law school at Michigan State University, where he graduated cum laude, served on the Michigan State Law Review and Trial Practice Institute, was active in the Federalist Society, and played guitar in the law school band.  During his first law school summer he was a Charles Koch Summer Fellow where he clerked at the Federalist Society and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  The second summer he clerked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. Those experiences solidified his desire to fight for individual liberty, and he has been able to fight for individuals’ freedom at PLF ever since.

When he’s not fighting for liberty, Joshua spends most of his time with his wife and baby daughter. He also supports all Wisconsin sports teams, enjoys traveling to see friends in Germany, and he hopes to soon become a National Master in chess.

Joshua Thompson joined Pacific Legal Foundation in August 2007. He primarily litigates cases involving equality under the law, economic liberty, school choice, and coastal land rights.

Joshua was raised in a small northern Wisconsin town known as the Home of the Hodag.  [Google it.] While in high school, he was a Rotary Exchange Student in Germany.  He attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was first introduced to the liberty movement.  He worked in the Wisconsin Governor’s Office during college and was active in both the College Republicans and College Libertarians – all five of them. After college he worked on his father’s gubernatorial campaign, before heading off to Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Before his flight Germany, Joshua was given a copy of Atlas Shrugged, which, being the only English book he had that year, was read approximately 500 times.

After his Fulbright year, Joshua attended law school at Michigan State University, where he graduated cum laude, served on the Michigan State Law Review and Trial Practice Institute, was active in the Federalist Society, and played guitar in the law school band.  During his first law school summer he was a Charles Koch Summer Fellow where he clerked at the Federalist Society and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  The second summer he clerked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. Those experiences solidified his desire to fight for individual liberty, and he has been able to fight for individuals’ freedom at PLF ever since.

When he’s not fighting for liberty, Joshua spends most of his time with his wife and baby daughter. He also supports all Wisconsin sports teams, enjoys traveling to see friends in Germany, and he hopes to soon become a National Master in chess.

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Personal Liberties

K.J. v. Minnesota State High School League

School athletics can’t turn kids away based on their sex

Kaiden Johnson loves competitive dance, and he is a valued member of the varsity dance team at Superior High School in Superior, Wisconsin. But the team primarily competes against high schools across the river in Duluth, Minnesota—and the Minnesota State High School League has a “girls only” policy for dance teams.

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Personal Liberties

The Book Passage v. Becerra

Saving free speech one book at a time

In the wake of a First Amendment challenge by Bay Area book seller Bill Petrocelli and his renowned store, Book Passage, California has rescinded the state’s onerous “certificate of authenticity” requirement for the sale of autographed books. The regulation would have made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell signed books or host author events.

Bay Area bookstore owner Bill Petrocelli is among hundreds of small business owners threatened by California’s newly expanded autograph law. Sellers of any autographed goods – including books – worth more than $5 must now provide a Certificate of Authenticity, details of each sale, personal information about buyers and previous owners, and store records for seven years. These new outrageous regulations deter, if not effectively ban, author events at bookstores like Bill’s and the free exchange of ideas.

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Personal Liberties

Minerva Dairy v. Brancel

Wisconsin flunks constitutional law with artisanal butter grading

Minerva Dairy, and its President, Adam Mueller, are challenging a Wisconsin law that prevents butter makers from outside the state from selling their products in Wisconsin unless they go through an arduous and costly process of getting their butter “graded.” Grading has nothing to do with quality or safety; it is graded by taste, as determined by government bureaucrats. Only Wisconsin has this type of law; neither the federal government nor any other state requires grading. Because Minerva Dairy makes artisanal butter that has its own unique taste, it does not want to submit to Wisconsin grading. Representing Minerva, PLF filed a lawsuit challenging the law as an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause, Due Process, and Equal Protection.

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By Joshua P. Thompson

It’s time for Minnesota to let Kaiden dance

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) governs interscholastic sports in Minnesota It creates the eligibility criteria for sports, establishes the rules, governs sportsmanship, and is in charge of officiating One of the sports it oversees is competitive dance, and according to its bylaws, only girls are allowed to participate in that sport

Kaiden Johnson is a sophomore at Superior High School in Superior, Wisconsin He’s a member of that school’s varsity dance team Because of its proximity to Duluth, Minnesota, Superior High School primary competes in the Lake Superior Conference, a Minnesota conference governed by MSHSL

Last year, as a freshman, Kaiden made the the

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Roger Clegg on why racial preferences remain wrongheaded

PLF friend Roger Clegg has a very interesting article in Inside Higher Education where he explains why federal action to curb universities continued use of racial preferences is sorely needed  The article talks about this PLF Supreme Court brief he joined which documents how universities continue to flout the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause The entire article is worth the read  Perhaps most notably, he explains how whatever the speculative benefits of racial preferences are, the costs are real and undeniable

“But let’s suppose that you are not completely persuaded That is, let’s suppose that you think, while the justifications for the use of racial preferences are

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Only the Supreme Court remains for disparate impact crusaders

A few months ago my colleague Wencong Fa blogged about the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Hardie v NCAA Hardie, a convicted felon, sought to have the NCAA’s ban on felon coaches struck down as illegal under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 That is the tenet of our civil rights laws that prohibits hotels and lunch counters from discriminating against patrons on the basis of race Hardie, and his team of disparate impact lawyers, sought to apply disparate impact theory to Title II They argued that prohibiting felons from coaching at NCAA events violates Title II, because the prohibition has a disparate

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Autograph law repeal now on Governor Brown’s desk

Shed a (crocodile) tear for Luke Skywalker today, as Mark Hamill’s much ballyhooed Autograph Law is set to be undone and reformed by the same California officials who made the mistake to pass it in the first place. AB 228 has arrived at the Governor’s desk, and in all likelihood will be signed into law any day.

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By Joshua P. Thompson

California Legislature to consider two bills that repeal the unconstitutional autograph law

Back in May, Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of Book Passage and Bill Petrocelli The lawsuit challenged a newly-enacted law that made the sale of autographed books unconscionably difficult As we explained at the time, the statute was ostensibly adopted to protect individuals from fraud when they purchase sports or entertainment memorabilia  But the statute cut way too far, and threatened individuals like Mr Petrocelli with ruinous fines if he continued to hold book signing events As a result, the law plainly violated the First Amendment, and we sought to get it declared unconstitutional Read more

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Preliminary injunction sought against Wisconsin's artisanal butter ban

This morning PLF filed a motion for preliminary injunction in our challenge to Wisconsin’s artisanal butter ban It has been nearly four months since Wisconsin first told our client, Minerva Dairy, that its Amish-churned butter was not welcome in the state And, as near as we can tell, there’s little hope of regulatory reform coming from the state of Wisconsin (or its officials) Accordingly, it’s time that Minerva Dairy asks the court to let it back into Wisconsin’s butter market  (more…)

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