Anya Bidwell

Anya Bidwell is an attorney with the Institute for Justice and IJ’s current Elfie Gallun Fellow in Freedom and the Constitution. Anya is one of the leaders of IJ’s Project on Immunity and Accountability. Through this project, Anya works to promote judicial engagement and ensure that government officials are held to account when they violate individuals’ constitutional rights.

In November 2020, Anya, as part of the Project on Immunity and Accountability, helped argue a U.S. Supreme Court case Brownback v. King, involving an innocent college student who was brutally beaten by undercover law enforcement officers. The case is now going back to the Sixth Circuit on the issue of whether two claims brought in the same lawsuit can cancel each other out, simply because one of the claims was brought against the federal government. In 2019, Anya was a co-counsel in another U.S. Supreme Court case brought by IJ, this time on behalf of two small business owners. In that case–Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomasthe Justices, in a 7-2 decision, held that states cannot engage in protectionism by imposing durational residency requirements on newly arrived residents, even in the context of the Twenty-First Amendment.

Before joining IJ, Anya was a litigation attorney with a top national law firm, handling cases in trial and appellate courts. She earned her J.D. with honors from the University of Texas, where she worked as a student attorney at the United States Supreme Court Clinic. Two years prior to entering law school, Anya received a Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies, also from the University of Texas, and wrote a thesis on asymmetric warfare.

Anya grew up in the Former Soviet Union. She came to America at 16, on a university scholarship. Her upbringing motivated her to study law and become an advocate for a strong, independent judiciary.

Anya’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the USA Today, and the Guardian. She is also the host of live recordings of our Short Circuit podcast, which take place on student campuses across the country.








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