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. 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. After college he worked on his father’s gubernatorial campaign, before heading off to Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Before his flight to 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.

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 “ ...

Connecticut Parents Union v. Wentzell

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 ...

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 ...

Christa McAuliffe PTO v. de Blasio

Stopping New York’s attempt to discriminate against Asian-American students

Feeling that New York City’s eight specialized high schools contain too many Asian students, Mayor Bill de Blasio is changing an admissions program to limit the ability of students to get into predominately Asian-American schools. However, his so-called racial balancing effort will squeeze out Asian students—nearly three-quarters of whom co ...

D.M. & Z.G. v. Minnesota State High School League

Discrimination dance: “Girls only” school dance team is unconstitutional

When 16-year-old Dmitri Moua discovered dancing, he found a new way to be a part of a team and build his self-confidence. But when he wanted to join his high school’s competitive dance team, he was denied because he is a boy. Dmitri’s school is in the Minnesota State High School League—whose bylaws declare competitive dance a “g ...

Linden v. South Dakota High School Activities Association

School’s “girls-only” dance team policy is a constitutional hustle

Fifteen-year-old Freddie Linden of North Sioux Falls, South Dakota can now lace up his dancing shoes as part of his school’s competitive dance team. The accomplished dancer already competes nationally on private dance teams, but the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) established competitive dance as a “female-only& ...

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