Robert McNamara


Senior Attorney

Robert McNamara serves as a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. He joined the Institute in August 2006 and litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases protecting free speech, property rights, economic liberty and other individual liberties in both federal and state courts.

Robert’s work has resulted in court victories for property owners fighting eminent domain abuse, tour guides fighting unconstitutional restrictions on their speech, taxi drivers seeking the right to own their own business, and many others.  Robert also litigates in defense of innovation and entrepreneurship in medical care and was co-counsel in Flynn v. Holder, IJ’s landmark challenge to the federal prohibition on compensating bone marrow donors.

Robert’s writing has been published by outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and dozens more nationwide.  His opinions and views on legal issues have been featured in radio and television programs ranging from National Public Radio’s All Things Considered to Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes.

Robert is a graduate of Boston University and the New York University School of Law, where he was a founding member and eventual editor-in-chief of the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty. He currently lives in Virginia with his wife and children.

Robert McNamara is a member of the Virginia bar.

Current Cases

In the News

News Clips

Research and Reports

  • August 9, 2018    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Expropriation in Puerto Rico

    Policy Brief and Report Card

    In a new report (released August 6), the Institute for Justice (IJ) gives Puerto Rico’s eminent domain laws a grade of “F.” IJ is a nonprofit, civil liberties law firm dedicated to ending eminent domain abuse:  when the government seizes private property not for traditional public uses, but for private development. The report examines Puerto…

  • November 1, 2010    |    Studies on Barriers to Entrepreneurship

    No Brotherly Love for Entrepreneurs

    It’s Never Sunny for Philadelphia’s Small Businesses

    At nearly every level, Philadelphia’s city government and related bureaucracies operate with a one-word vocabulary: Whatever the question is, the answer is “No.” From zoning to permitting to occupational licensing, would-be entrepreneurs hear that answer time and again.

  • January 26, 2010    |    Scholarly Articles

    Getting Beyond Guns

    Context for Coming Debate over Privileges or Immunities

    The Fourteenth Amendment represents a deliberate decision by the people of this nation to make the U.S. Constitution—not state constitutions and not state officials— the primary guardian of liberty in America. The purpose of the amendment was to secure the basic civil rights of all citizens, regardless of race, and to give federal judges both…

  • October 1, 2009    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Building Empires, Destroying Homes

    Eminent Domain Abuse in New York

    New York is perhaps the worst state in the nation when it comes to eminent domain abuse. Government jurisdictions and agencies statewide have condemned or threatened to condemn homes and small businesses for the New York Stock Exchange, The New York Times, IKEA and Costco.

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