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

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.

Under the former law, sellers of any autographed good worth over $5—including books—were required to provide a Certificate of Authenticity that included details about the transaction and the personal information about buyers and previous owners. Any omission, or failing to maintain the records for seven years, resulted in outrageous fines. Following PLF’s lawsuit, the legislature passed AB 228, which exempts books from the mandates.

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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

Minerva Dairy asks court to declare Wisconsin’s butter grading law unconstitutional

Today, PLF filed its opening brief on behalf of Minerva Dairy asking the federal district court to strike down Wisconsin’s butter grading law. Since we filed our complaint back in … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Title IX complaint filed against Minnesota State High School League

Pacific Legal Foundation and Miranda Lynch filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding the Minnesota State High School League’s decision to ban boys from dancing.

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By Joshua P. Thompson

PLF and CEO model brief on racial contracting preferences

About seven years ago, then PLF attorney Sharon Browne co-drafted a model brief with Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity. The model brief is intended to be used by attorneys looking to challenge government policies that require race-based contracting preferences.

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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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