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Joshua P. Thompson

Senior Attorney
PLF National Headquarters

(916) 419-7111

Practice areas

Joshua Thompson joined PLF in August, 2007. He spends the majority of his time in PLF's Individual Rights practice group, specializing in both the Equality under the Law Project and the K-12 Education Reform Project. Mr. Thompson also litigates cases in PLF's environmental law and economic liberty projects.

Mr. Thompson's work in the Equality Under the Law Project has led to the invalidation of California statutes granting race-based preferences in public contracting, as well as the Port of Oakland's use of a race-based selection process for its vendors. He has authored numerous briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, including PLF's brief in Fisher v. University of Texas, which the The Weekly Standard described as the "the most persuasive [brief] overall." Mr. Thompson also leads PLF's K-12 Education Reform Project, arguing for the rights of parents and students to choose the best education for their needs. To that end, he has filed briefs in Indiana, New Hampshire, Georgia, California, and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Thompson graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 with a triple major in political science, international relations, and German. After receiving his Bachelor's degree, he went to Germany on a Fulbright scholarship.

Following his Fulbright year in Germany, Mr. Thompson began law school at Michigan State University. After his first year of law school, he was a Koch Summer Fellow in Washington, D.C., where he clerked at both the Federalist Society and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, specializing in the latter's White Collar Crime Project. In May, 2007, Mr. Thompson graduated cum laude from MSU, where he was an Associate Editor on the MSU Law Review. He also was active in the MSU Federalist Society and a member of the school's Trial Practice Institute.

Selected Publications

  • 'Diversity' doesn't justify discrimination, USA Today (June 24, 2013) (with Roger Clegg)
  • Shelby County v. Holder: Forget the Coverage Formula, What About the Effects Test?, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 12, 2013)
  • Online VRA Symposium: It's time for the Court to review Section 5, SCOTUSblog (Sept. 12, 2012)
  • After health care ruling, court must rule against affirmative action, Christian Sci. Mon. (June 21, 2012) (with Roger Clegg)
  • Desperately Seeking Scrutiny: Why the Supreme Court Should Use Fisher v. University of Texas to Restore Meaningful Review to Race-Based College Admission Programs, 7 Charleston L. Rev. 139 (2012) (with Adam Pomeroy)
  • Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: Could the Supreme Court Revisit its Decision in Grutter?, 12 Engage 57 (September, 2011)
  • Divisive Diversity at the University of Texas: An Opportunity for the Supreme Court to Overturn its Flawed Decision in Grutter, 15 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 437 (2011) (with Damien Schiff)
  • The Distinct Population Segment Provision of the Endangered Species Act and the Lack Thereof in the California Endangered Species Act, 30 J. Land Resources & Envtl. L. 267 (2010).
  • California Standing Doctrine: The Enigma Explained, (forthcoming) (with Damien Schiff)

Engagements, Speeches, and Appearances

  • Voting Rights After Shelby County, Hastings Law School (Sept. 21, 2013)
  • Redistricting, Race, and Representation Symposium, Stanford Law School (Jan. 28, 2012)

Mr. Thompson can often be heard on the radio discussing PLF cases, and makes regular appearances on NPR and Armstrong & Getty.

Bar Memberships
Mr. Thompson is admitted to the bars of California, the United States Supreme Court, and numerous federal circuit courts of appeals and district courts.


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