Joshua P. Thompson

Director of Legal Talent Sacramento

Joshua Thompson is Pacific Legal Foundation’s Director of Legal Talent. 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).

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. Alex Padilla, 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 “ ...

CTPU Case Connecticut Parents Union v. Cardona

Race-based quotas in Connecticut schools hurt Black and Hispanic students

Each year, world-class magnet schools in Connecticut deny admission to thousands of deserving children while leaving available seats empty—because of skin color. State law requires magnet schools’ enrollment to be at least 25 percent white or Asian. This means Black and Hispanic students are turned away if their admission would push minorit ...

Warren Lent v. California Coastal Commission

Massive—and unconstitutional—beach access fines threaten family home

In 2016, the Lents received the California Coastal Commission’s first ever fine—$4.185 million—for blocking public access to the beach. The home sits 20 feet above the beach and, without stairs or a ramp, the public cannot safely get to the beach. The property originally included an outdoor stairway and a gate to block the large drop—bo ...

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January 21, 2021

The Hill: Was 2020 a turning point for identity politics?

The tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer has led to renewed interest in an important topic: equality before the law. Although Americans are united in their pursuit of this important principle, they are divided on what the term means. This divide is not along right-left lines. Instead, it is between collectivists who ...

January 20, 2021

Houston-area contractors brace for additional racial set-asides

Last year in Texas, both Harris County and the Port of Houston completed their first-ever studies of how public contracts are awarded for everything from paper products to multi-million-dollar building projects. The studies, called disparity studies, found that minority-owned businesses in Harris County and Port of Houston win public contracts at l ...

January 20, 2021

Daily Journal: California’s attack on donor privacy draws supreme scrutiny

Do you have the right to privately support charities and causes you believe in? And what standard applies when the government seeks to discover otherwise-anonymous donors' identities from nonprofit organizations? On Jan. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra to clarify the answers to those qu ...

January 20, 2021

Despite ”Cancel Culture” growing, America’s freedom of speech is strong

**Editor’s note on upcoming PLF event** Freedom of speech is a core value in American society. It's no mistake that it is protected by the First Amendment to our constitution. Both our intellectual and economic lives depend on the exchange of ideas and information. Yet today, individuals on both sides of the aisle are calling for ...

January 14, 2021

Orlando Sentinel: Orange County voters were misguided in approving ‘Rights of nature’ ordinance

Last year, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law an amendment to Florida's Environmental Protection Act, SB 712, that in part prohibits local governments from granting individuals the right to sue on behalf of plants, animals, bodies or water or other elements of nature. It reflected the sensible idea that it is individuals who are harmed ...

January 14, 2021

Not only does Chicago’s racial contracting set asides hurt minorities, it’s unconstitutional

In 2020, COVID-19 devastated many small businesses, including construction companies that work on public projects such as public roads, public schools, or public hospitals. In 2021, Chicago can make it easier for those contractors to earn a living by eliminating its set-asides for minority-owned businesses. Chicago's Minority Business Enterprise (M ...

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