Steven D. Anderson

President and CEO Sacramento

Steven serves as President and CEO of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which he joined in 2016.  Founded in 1973, PLF litigates cases nationwide to vindicate the rights fundamental to a free society. With eleven U.S. Supreme Court victories and counting, PLF fights on the front lines, preserving the American ideals of individualism and liberty.

He traces his interest in the moral foundations of liberty to two formative events that occurred during his first year in college:  a chance encounter with a student who recommended an interesting book about an architect—The Fountainhead—and attendance at a summer seminar produced by the Institute for Humane Studies (the books and Reason magazine subscription helped, too).  Those events inaugurated further philosophical exploration of the importance of the individual and the natural rights of man.

Before joining PLF, he spent 12 years at the Institute for Justice, most recently as Executive Vice President and CFO, where he was responsible for leading day-to-day operations.  In addition, he oversaw IJ’s legal clinic and legislative, activism and coalition efforts.  Before that, Steven worked as the Director of IJ’s Castle Coalition, where he assisted homeowners, business owners and elected officials in the fight to end eminent domain abuse.

He has traveled widely to testify before Congress and state legislatures on the critical need for eminent domain reform and advised all levels of government on public policy.  He has lectured and debated at conferences and symposia around the nation, making the case for substantive protections for property rights.

Steven has been quoted extensively and his writings and ideas have appeared frequently in magazines and newspapers across the country, including the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesWashington PostPhiladelphia InquirerSan Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News.  He has made regular broadcast media appearances on television as well as both local and nationally syndicated radio shows.

Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, Steven received his law degree from Wake Forest University in 1999.  He earned his undergraduate degree with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1996.  Prior to joining the public interest legal movement, he was an attorney in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC.

In addition to his work at PLF and IJ, he taught legal research, writing, and advocacy to 1Ls at The George Washington University Law School.  He lives in Sacramento with his New Jersey-born wife and fellow Wahoo, Lyndsay, and their two sons, Thomas and Henry.


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December 04, 2020

The Hill: Time to rein in government’s pandemic overreach — starting with CDC’s eviction ban

When the history of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is written, it will need a section on the most counterproductive and overreaching government responses. That list should include the nationwide ban on residential rental evictions imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in September. That's right, public health officials have ...

September 23, 2020

PLF’s defense of liberty at the Supreme Court will continue

Much has been said and written over the past week regarding the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her personal story of perseverance and her role as a trailblazing attorney and jurist inspired many across the nation—and not just in the legal profession. After reflecting on Justice Ginsburg's tenure on the Court, her passing ...

June 03, 2020

InsideSources: Rebuilding economy will require rethinking government’s role

To better understand the recent surge of criticism and resistance against government-mandated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, take a closer look at the Commerce Department jobs report published last week. In April, the United States lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs, with the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7 percent. Those numbers sugges ...

December 18, 2019

Issues & Insights: How hard would you fight to get the best education for your kids?

How far would you go to get the best education possible for your child? How hard would you fight? A group of Connecticut parents are prepared to find out — they're challenging the state's discriminatory education policies that lock minority children out of the state's top-flight magnet schools. That's what's happening in Hartford, Connecticut, wh ...

July 25, 2019

The Hill: The Senate is looking at — but needs to act upon — bureaucratic rulemaking

In Washington, D.C., reports and studies that examine and critique government policy and performance are the currency of the realm. Every think tank, advocacy organization and lobby shop hopes their original research will make a splash, getting the attention of policymakers and resulting in real change. Unfortunately, the supply of policy research ...

July 17, 2019

PLF at Senate hearing: Bureaucrats have to follow the rules, too

Earlier this year, Pacific Legal Foundation published a first-of-its-kind study finding that, over the past 17 years, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a majority of its rules unconstitutionally. Our report, "But Who Rules the Rulemakers? A Study of Illegally Issued Regulations at HHS," found that almost three-quarters of the ...