Oliver J. Dunford

Attorney Florida

Oliver Dunford joined PLF in March 2017. He litigates across the country to defend and advance individual liberty and the rule of law. Oliver’s cases involve the separation of powers, economic liberty, property rights, and the First Amendment.

Oliver remains inspired by the Classical Liberal ideals upon which our Founders declared independence and secured the blessings of liberty. The Constitution’s promises, however, are not self-executing. As James Madison explained, “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Oliver feels lucky that his work helps oblige the government to control itself—to the end that all individuals may pursue their rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Before joining PLF, Oliver clerked at the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Court of Appeals, and spent more than a decade in private practice working on complex commercial litigation. Originally from Cleveland, Oliver is a graduate of the University of Dayton and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he was a managing editor for the Cleveland State Law Review. Oliver is admitted to the state bars of Florida, California, and Ohio, as well as several federal courts including the United States Supreme Court.

Oliver spends all of his free time following the Cleveland Indians.

Christensen v. California Judicial Council

Fighting for property rights against California Judicial Council’s eviction ban

Eviction is a critical tool for landlords to manage their property by removing tenants who refuse to pay rent or create nuisances and safety hazards. The process allows landlords to remove tenants who deliberately withhold rent or damage property, so that they can aid tenants experiencing hardship and offer housing to good renters—a particularly ...

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 ...

Ostrewich v. Trautman

Your shirt or your vote: Fighting to protect free speech at the ballot box

When Jillian Ostrewich entered her Houston, Texas, polling place in 2018, she expected the only decisions she’d face would be on the ballot. Instead, an election judge gave her an ultimatum: turn her shirt inside out or forfeit her vote. Similarly, in 2018, a Dallas-area election judge ordered Tony Ortiz to turn his “MAGA” hat ins ...

Fighting Racial Discrimination 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 ...

Race-based quotas in Connecticut Robinson v. Wentzell

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

Hartford, Connecticut, runs a number of world-class magnet schools. Their success has led to the use of a lottery to decide who can attend. But under a state-mandated racial quota, enrollment must be at least 25 percent white or Asian. This means Black and Hispanic students are turned away if their admission would push minority enrollment above 75 ...

Woman vaping Vaping Litigation

The Constitution going up in vapor

Electronic nicotine delivery systems—vaping devices and e-cigarettes—first hit U.S. stores in 2007. It didn’t take long for vaping to jump from zero to a $5 billion domestic industry, as entrepreneurs quickly recognized a market hungry for an alternative to traditional cigarettes. In 2016, just as the burgeoning vaping industry was gettin ...

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September 10, 2020

Hey L.A. Mayor Garcetti, you can’t turn off people’s utilities as a punishment

In 2017, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a "Bill of Rights" for customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Back then, he professed that "reliable, affordable, and accountable service from LADWP is not a privilege—it is a right to every Angeleno who relies on our utility." That was then, this ...

September 03, 2020

Governors should stop dictating school openings and closures for entire states

Every fall marks the beginning of school. This school year, of course, looks markedly different from any in memory. Because of COVID-19, states and localities across the country remain in various stages of lockdown, while schools and families have scrambled to restart some kind of instruction. Some states have left the details up to local ...

August 31, 2020

The Orange County Register: The end of the California Judicial Council’s unlawful eviction ban provides key civics lesson

Peggy Christensen is an independent rental property owner in California who relies on her rental income in retirement. She owns a small, eight-unit apartment building. One of Peggy's tenants has damaged the property, disturbed other tenants, and refused to pay rent for months, even though the tenant hasn't indicated any change in her ability to ...

June 09, 2020

The Hill: Trump’s ‘Regulatory Bill of Rights’ hasn’t gotten much attention — but it should

A recent executive order meant to free up the economy following the COVID-19-related lockdowns contains a little-noticed, but potentially powerful, long-term reform that should help rein in regulatory abuse that's commonplace throughout administrative agencies. Contrary to those who claim that these regulators merely enforce commonsense rules for t ...

May 22, 2020

Issues & Insights: The regulatory state is preventing the right people from getting needed COVID-19 supplies

As we consider how to reopen society safely, one problem remains — shortages of accurate COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment like masks and latex gloves. Many demand that the federal government solve the problem. To be sure, there are things that the federal government can and should do in the face of an international ...

February 27, 2020

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Seila Law v. CFPB. At its core, the case deals with the structure of an administrative government agency. But the Court's decision in Seila Law either will prevent unaccountable government agencies from controlling major aspects of our economy, or will open the door for more bureaucratic ...

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