I’m a constitutional litigator in Washington, D.C. (barred in California and D.C.) fighting to keep church and state separate under the First Amendment and separately, to procure fundamental rights for nonhuman animals. I am the Senior Counsel for the American Humanist Association (AHA) (full-time) and an attorney for the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) (part time).
At the AHA, I have served as lead counsel in 25 federal cases, including before the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits-winning nearly all thus far. I have presented oral arguments before the Fourth Circuit (twice), the Fifth Circuit, and the Eleventh Circuit, and have filed a number of briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court. I have appeared on national and local television stations (including Fox News twice and MSNBC), and am regularly quoted in media outlets, including New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post. At the NhRP, I draft briefs and lead research for our groundbreaking cases seeking fundamental common law rights (i.e. bodily liberty) for autonomous nonhuman animals (so far, chimpanzees and elephants) through the writ of habeas corpus. In essence, our aim is to change their legal status from rightless “things” to legal “persons” with the capacity for basic rights. Our cases have captured the interest of the world’s leading legal scholars, scientists, and journalists. We are also featured in an HBO documentary, Unlocking the Cage.
I graduated from Vermont Law School in 2012 (cum laude), Columbia University in 2009 (MPA), and Pitzer College in 2008 (BA). I went to law school specifically to pursue my lifelong interest in animal rights. I volunteered for the NhRP throughout law school and interned for the AHA. Both organizations offered me a position before graduation and gave me a flexible schedule so I could juggle both jobs. I began litigating as soon as I passed the July 2012 California Bar (and waived into D.C. thereafter). I am also admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts in Colorado, Florida, and California.