Steve Simpson

Senior Attorney DC

Steve Simpson joined PLF in 2019 to head up our Separation of Powers practice group.

Steve’s career in public interest law started at the Institute for Justice in 2001, where he litigated free speech, campaign finance, and economic liberty cases. Among other high-profile cases in which Steve was involved, he was co-counsel in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, IJ’s successful Supreme Court challenge to Arizona’s public financing law for political campaigns. He was the lead litigator in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, a joint effort between IJ and the Institute for Free Speech that led to the creation of super PACs. And he was co-counsel in Swedenburg v. Kelly, IJ’s successful Supreme Court challenge to New York’s ban on the interstate shipping of wine.

In 2013, Steve moved into the policy arena as the Ayn Rand Institute’s director of Legal Studies, where he spent five years writing and speaking on a wide variety of legal and cultural issues. From there, he moved back into law as senior litigation counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance in Washington, D.C.

Steve has spoken and written on a wide variety of legal and policy issues. He has testified in Congress and briefed congressional staffers. He has been interviewed on scores of television and radio programs, including PBS News Hour, Stossel, and The Rubin Report. His writings have appeared in many publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In 2014, Steve was a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute. He is the editor of Defending Free Speech (ARI Press, 2016).

Steve earned his law degree magna cum laude from New York Law School in 1994. Following law school, he clerked for a federal district judge in the Southern District of Florida and spent several years as a litigator at Shearman & Sterling.

When he’s not at work or spending time with his wife and three daughters, Steve can usually be found mucking around in the woods at his cabin on Shenandoah Mountain.

Ramirez et al. v. Lamont et al.

Connecticut nail salon owner fights for fair treatment under “shutdown” orders

In early March 2020, Luis Ramirez closed his Hartford, CT, nail salon, following Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders for statewide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luis and his wife, Rosiris, have since struggled to earn income and pay rent on their salon. When Luis and Rosiris thought they’d be able to reopen on May 20, they scrap ...

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