Luke Wake

Attorney |

Separation of Powers

Luke Wake is an attorney in Pacific Legal Foundation’s separation of powers practice. He litigates cases challenging agency rulemaking decisions as contrary to the Constitution’s structural protections for individual liberty. He is leading the effort to rein in the administrative state by reinvigorating the non-delegation doctrine—the foundational idea that only Congress may make law and that it cannot give away its lawmaking powers to federal bureaucrats, the president, or anyone else.

Luke returned to PLF in 2020 after eight years advocating at the NFIB Small Business Legal Center for the rights of entrepreneurs to own and grow their businesses. Previously he completed a two-year fellowship at PLF—working on property rights—upon graduating from Case Western Reserve School of Law in Cleveland and completing an externship for Justice Robert Edmunds of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He graduated cum laude from Elon University in North Carolina, where he double-majored in political science and corporate communications.

Luke came to PLF because he is passionate about protecting the rights of individuals to pursue their own happiness and he wanted to do something meaningful to advance the cause of liberty. He could think of no better way—no more ambitious a project—than to build and litigate cases to restore separation of powers and to rein in the administrative state. For example, he is representing a small business that was shut down by Governor Newsom’s emergency orders for over a year. And he represented landlords in a suit reining in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—where the agency was asserting “near dictatorial powers” that would have enabled CDC to shut down any business in the country for the duration of the pandemic (or even in response to the seasonal flu).

He has written extensively on regulatory issues, including numerous law review articles, white papers, editorials, and educational materials. During law school, he officially joined the fight for liberty after reading Frédéric Bastiat and joining the Federalist Society, where he became president of his student chapter. He is currently chair of the State and Local Regulation Working Group for the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project.

Luke spends his free time with his three beautiful children and his wife. Whenever possible he loves escaping to the woods for hiking excursions. He may otherwise be found playing board/card games with his family and friends, writing his great American novel (about a politically ambitious cat), or listening to audible books while inevitably multitasking on housework.

Luke is a member of the bar only in the states of California and D.C.