Braiding Freedom

A project of the Institute for Justice

William Maurer

June 16, 2014

William R. Maurer is the Executive Director of the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter (IJ-WA), which he joined in November 2002. IJ-WA engages in constitutional litigation in the areas of economic liberty, private property rights, educational choice, freedom of speech, and other vital liberties secured by the U.S. and Washington Constitutions.
Maurer has led challenges to a number of governmental abuses and become a nationally recognized litigator on behalf of free speech. Maurer was the lead attorney in a challenge to Arizona’s punitive campaign financing regime, Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, a case he argued and won before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. Before the Washington Supreme Court, he argued against efforts by the government to classify on-air radio commentary as a reportable contribution under the state’s campaign finance law, a case in which the court sided with IJ-WA 9-0. He also served as lead attorney on IJ-WA’s successful challenge before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to a City of Redmond ordinance that banned the use of portable signs for commercial businesses while allowing them for politicians and real estate companies. He regularly writes, teaches and testifies before legislatures on free speech issues.

In addition to his First Amendment work, Maurer has testified on eminent domain issues in a number of state legislatures. In December 2006, the Washington Policy Center published his Policy Brief, A False Sense of Security: The Potential For Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington State. His cases have been covered in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, City Journal and in all major Washington papers. He has made numerous television appearances in connection with IJ cases.
Maurer has been named a “Washington Superlawyer” by Washington Law & Politics Magazine for 2007 through 2010. He is a member of Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna’s Eminent Domain Task Force, which reviewed Washington’s eminent domain laws and produced a comprehensive report and proposed significant reform legislation. He is also an Adjunct Scholar and Research Advisory Board member at the Washington Policy Center. Maurer is an author of chapters in legal reference works on both Washington’s Public Records Act and the interplay between administrative law and the Civil Rights Act.

Prior to joining IJ-WA, Maurer clerked for Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders and Justice Victoria Lederberg of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and then practiced law at Perkins Coie LLP. Maurer received his law degree in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he was an articles editor of the Wisconsin Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Studies from Bard College in 1989.