Chris Kieser


Chris Kieser practices in PLF’s property rights and equality before the law practice groups.

His property rights clients include Cedar Point Nursery, which challenged a California regulation requiring them to allow union organizers to invade their private property, as well as Randall and Kimberley Pavlock, who are fighting back against Indiana’s beachfront land grab along Lake Michigan.

Under equality before the law, Chris represents coalitions of Asian-American parents challenging discriminatory admissions policies for selective K-12 schools in New York City; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Virginia. He also represents a parent organization in Connecticut challenging a racial quota that prevents many Black and Hispanic students from enrolling at the state’s magnet schools.

Chris has published law review articles in the William & Mary Environmental Law Review and the Federalist Society Review. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Daily News, National Review, The Blaze, the Daily Journal, and SCOTUSblog.

Chris clerked for the Honorable Daniel A. Manion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Honorable Thomas D. Schroeder of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. He holds a B.A., cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame, and graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame Law School in 2013. At Notre Dame, he was an articles editor of the Notre Dame Law Review.

Growing up on Long Island, Chris developed a deep passion for limited government and individual liberty, arguing with his more numerous progressive classmates. This experience made him deeply skeptical that government tinkering at the expense of individual rights ever works, whether it be denying a property owner the use of his land or a student a seat at her desired school because of her race. He chose PLF because it is the national leader in litigation that furthers individual liberty.

When he’s not working, you’re likely to find Chris rooting for the Mets and Fighting Irish or debating some arcane point of law (because apparently that doesn’t happen enough at work).

Chris is currently licensed to practice in California and admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Central Districts of California, the Northern District of Indiana, and the Northern District of Illinois.

McKinney v. Vilsack

Race-based COVID-19 farm loan forgiveness denies equal treatment to Texas farmer

Jarrod McKinney began his farming journey about eight years ago with help from a federal loan for beginning farmers. Like many farmers in the Texarkana region, Jarrod raises cattle, tending today to 60 pairs. Like many farmers facing economic hardship in the pandemic’s aftermath, Jarrod was hopeful when he heard about a farm loan forgiveness ...

Kent v. Vilsack

Race-based COVID-19 farm loan forgiveness denies equal treatment to Illinois farmers

Ryan Kent is a full-time farmer in Centralia, Illinois, and owner of a 5,000-acre farm started by his father. Like many farmers across the country, he has a federal farm loan with an outstanding balance that caused economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. At first encouraged about a farm loan forgiveness provision in the American Rescue Plan ...

Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board

Fighting Race-Based Discrimination at Nation’s Top-Ranked High School

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, or TJ, is the nation’s top-ranked public high school. Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) recent changes to TJ’s admissions process specifically aim to reduce the number of Asian-American children—and only Asian-American children—who can attend TJ. The school district& ...

cedar_point-Nursery Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid

Supreme Court affirms property rights for California fruit growers

Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company are California growers that produce fruit for millions of Americans. Collectively, they employ around 3,000 Californians. In 2015, the United Farm Workers (UFW) viewed the workers as ripe for the picking and sent union organizers to storm the workplaces during harvest time to encourage them to unionize ...

Seider v. City of Malibu

Property rights on the line in family’s battle for beachfront signage

Dennis and Leah Seider simply want to alert beachgoers to where the public right of access to the beach ends, the Seiders’ private Malibu property begins, and the way to the nearby public beach. Their best hope to protect their property rights and avoid potential confrontations with beachgoers would be a sign. But that hope faded when they le ...

AFEF v. Montgomery County Public Schools

Parents fight racial balancing efforts that deny educational opportunities

Montgomery County Public Schools is Maryland’s largest public school district and one of the best in the state, with a robust magnet program for gifted and talented students. The district recently changed its admissions criteria for magnet programs at four middle schools ostensibly to make the programs more “equitable.” But the ch ...

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March 22, 2021

National Review: A SCOTUS case that could shape property rights for years to come

California growers Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company pride themselves on treating their employees with dignity and respect. Neither company's employees wanted to unionize. Perhaps that is why the United Farm Workers invoked a California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) regulation that grants union organizers the right to acces ...

February 17, 2021

SCOTUSblog: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act: Equal opportunity vs. disparate impact

The following article appeared in a SCOTUSblog symposium on Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. PLF filed an amicus brief in support of the Arizona attorney general and the Arizona Republican Party. Our case preview is here. In the aftermath of the chaos that was the 2020 election-related litigation, it is easy to forget that the ...

November 05, 2020

Daily Journal: This land is your land – but Malibu won’t let you tell anyone

Whether you live in a city, a suburb, or out in the country, you have probably seen a “private property” or “no trespassing” sign. Such signs are ubiquitous across America and can be extremely helpful in protecting and preserving property rights. But some property owners find that it is harder than expected to put up ...

October 13, 2020

Daily Journal: Supreme Court to hear important Voting Rights Act case

The Voting Rights Act is one of the most successful pieces of legislation ever enacted. In the years immediately after its passage, record numbers of African-American registered and voted. Indeed, by 2012 African-American voting rates were the highest of any demographic in the country. Nevertheless, each election cycle Americans have grown accustom ...

January 07, 2020

The Times of Northwest Indiana: Indiana Supreme Court’s decision on Lake Michigan beach access is unconstitutional. Here’s why.

Randy and Kimberley Pavlock built their small family home along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Porter, Indiana, with their own hands. The Pavlocks have owned the property for five generations, and love being "beach people." Their home and private beach on Lake Michigan are the center of their family life, as they often hold fish ...

March 04, 2019

PLF client publishes op-ed on racial discrimination in New York City schools

This past weekend, the New York Post published a powerful op-ed written by Wai Wah Chin, president of PLF client Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York (CACAGNY). In the piece, Wai Wah decries Mayor Bill de Blasio and Education Chancellor Richard Carranza's effort to racially balance New York City's renowned specialized high schools ...