William R. Maurer


Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice Washington Office

William R. Maurer is the Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice Washington office (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. He successfully fought governmental efforts to regulate pro bono representation of political campaigns in federal civil rights actions as campaign contributions, as well as an effort to classify on-air radio commentary as a reportable contribution under the state’s campaign finance law. He 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 worked to prevent the government from using the power of eminent domain for private gain. He has testified on eminent domain issues in a number of state legislatures and, in 2006, the Washington Policy Center published his Policy Brief, A False Sense of Security: The Potential For Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington State. He was 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.

Maurer’s work has been covered in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, The Wall Street Journal, and in all major Washington papers. He has been named a “Washington Superlawyer” by Washington Law & Politics Magazine. He is 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.

Current Cases

News Clips

Research and Reports

  • March 1, 2010    |    Scholarly Articles

    President Obama’s domestic policies have generated opposition among many in the general public and mobilized previously uninvolved citizens. This opposition has manifested itself in public rallies, “tea party” protests, and spirited feedback at town hall meetings. Supporters of the president’s policies have accused those participating of being part of a larger, organized conspiracy or, at…

  • February 1, 2009    |    Scholarly Articles

    In a “clean elections” system, taxpayer funded candidates must agree to limit their campaign spending. Imposing limits on campaign spending for candidates who forego taxpayer dollars and instead run traditional campaigns would be unconstitutional. Most clean elections schemes thus rely on “matching,” “rescue,” or “trigger” funds to level the playing fi eld between publicly funded…

  • December 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    A False Sense of Security

    The Potential for Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington

    Washington state law is rife with opportunities for eminent domain abuse.

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