Sam Spiegelman joined Pacific Legal Foundation’s property rights practice in 2022, where he labors to fulfill his life’s passion to protect the Takings Clause’s 12 simple words: “Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Sam contributes his humble talents to the practice’s Herculean (though hardly Sisyphean) campaign to reverse the modern, meaningless “interest-balancing” approach to the Clause and replace it with the Framers’ original bright-line conception.
Sam is proud to represent owners large and small in their struggles against municipal, state, and federal attempts to use official power to limit and even destroy property rights. This despite John Locke’s stipulation that the “chief end” of government is “the preservation of property.” Sam hopes his work at Pacific Legal Foundation will make a lasting contribution to the cause of liberty—one he and his colleagues recognize demands relentless vigilance and bold legal action to elevate our clients and others similarly situated.
Alongside Locke, Sam counts among his intellectual heroes eminent English jurists Edward Coke and William Blackstone, and Dutch lawyer-philosopher Hugo Grotius, who recognized that the state must sometimes invade the private sphere but must then “make good the loss to those who lose their property.” His first entre into takings jurisprudence was reading Frank I. Michelman’s Property, Utility, and Fairness, a notable mid-century piece which, advocating a utilitarian view of property rights, taught Sam all that was wrong with the modern consensus on the Takings Clause.
Sam’s passion for property rights began in high school and intensified at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Federalist Society and served on the editorial board of the Virginia Tax Review. Sam earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, graduating Phi Kappa Phi with high honors in history and political science. After a layover in corporate law (a dreadfully boring experience), Sam was a legal associate at the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, where he co-authored over a dozen amicus briefs, including several to the Supreme Court, and co-authored a law review article on the Court’s landmark decision in PLF’s case Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid (2021).
Outside of the law, Sam is a voracious (but unpretentious) reader, though you will never catch him reading fiction. He is also an ardent X-Files fan and is always up for a Simpsons trivia contest. He lives in Seattle with his wonderful wife Hannah and their demon cat Coraline.