Erin Wilcox


Erin Wilcox is an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, where she litigates to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.  

The daughter of a public school teacher, Erin saw from an early age the power of education to elevate individuals to their fullest potential. At PLF, Erin fights for families—like those in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia—to have educational opportunities for their children free from racial discrimination. 

Erin also battles unjust laws and ridiculous government actions in other arenas as well, like challenging a Texas polling place dress code or fighting a North Carolina regulation that prevents homeowners from rebuilding their burned-down house because the state doesn’t like where it’s located.   

A native Texan, Erin ventured east after high school to earn a B.A. in history and political science from Wake Forest University and a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. After law school, she defended the individual rights of employees at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, advised the D.C. Public Employee Relations Board on labor-management disputes, and returned to the Lone Star State as a litigator with the Texas Public Policy Foundation before joining PLF. 

In addition to liberty, Erin’s loves include college football, Texas BBQ, and a well-made Old Fashioned. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three Zoom-bombing cats. 

Ng v. Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota

Fighting sex-based discrimination in University of Minnesota athletics

Evan Ng has been a competitive gymnast since he was six years old. He turned down a more lucrative financial aid offer from another university to attend the University of Minnesota and compete on its century-old gymnastics team. His hopes were dashed, however, when the university decided to cut men’s gymnastics after the 2020-21 school year u ...

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& ...

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 ...

Adobe Stock Zito v. North Carolina Coastal Resource Commission; Town of Nags Head

Fighting government’s blurred lines on property rights

All Michael and Cathy Zito wanted to do was rebuild their vacation cottage in Nags Head, North Carolina after fire destroyed it in 2016. But state and local governments denied building permits because the property is now within a no-build zone. The Zitos are left with the only vacant lot in a line of beach homes and can do little more than pitch a ...

Ostrewich v. Hudspeth

Your shirt or your vote: Fighting to protect free speech at the ballot box

When Jillian Ostrewich entered her Houston, Texas, polling place in 2018, she expected the only decisions she’d face would be on the ballot. Instead, an election judge gave her an ultimatum: turn her shirt inside out or forfeit her vote. A federal judge overturned Texas’ election apparel law because the First Amendment protects passive ...

Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco

Government can’t force tenants for life

Mr. Pakdel is a small business owner in Ohio. In 2009 he bought what’s known as a “tenancy in common” (TIC) apartment in San Francisco and leased it to a residential tenant. As part of the purchase, Pakdel signed an agreement with the other owners to convert the building’s six units into condominiums. But the City of San Fra ...

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September 29, 2021

Stop discriminating in schools and start lifting up the students that need help

In a recent Wall Street Journal column on structural racism, Bill McGurn argues that "if ever there were a structure systemically keeping African-Americans from getting ahead, it would surely be America's big city public-school systems." He's right. But the problem extends much further—from the very worst public schools to some of the very best. ...

August 06, 2021

No matter how you try to spin the new policy, TJ is heading in the wrong direction with its admissions criteria

In a July 2 opinion piece for The Washington Post, Asra Q. Nomani and I wrote about the purge of Asian-American students occurring at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ). Last year, TJ, a public Governor's School in Alexandria, Virginia, changed its admissions policy, scaling back its traditionally merit-based criteria. The ...

July 02, 2021

The Washington Post: The purge of Asian American students at Thomas Jefferson High School has begun

This op-ed was coauthored by Asra Q. Nomani, the mother of a 2021 TJ graduate, is co-founder of Coalition for TJ and vice president at Parents Defending Education. On June 5, Principal Ann Bonitatibus of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) stood before the 2021 graduating class and pronounced with a ...

May 26, 2021

Judge rules Coalition for TJ’s fight can continue in federal lawsuit: What it means for racial discrimination in schools

Last Friday morning, federal district court judge Claude Hilton issued an exciting ruling from the bench: despite the Fairfax County School Board's urging, Judge Hilton refused to dismiss the Coalition for TJ's lawsuit alleging that the School Board violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause when it changed the admissions policy fo ...

May 04, 2021

Carolina Journal: North Carolina bureaucrats are about to learn a lesson in the importance of property rights

When is losing the entire value of your property due to government regulation, not an "undue hardship"? According to the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, the answer is whenever your home is on the coast. In October 2016, Michael and Cathy Zito's Nags Head beach house burned to the ground. Luckily no one was hurt, ...

March 10, 2021

The Hill: Parents sue to stop discriminatory admissions at top-ranked high school

It all started with an email. Last summer, as George Floyd's death rocked the nation and COVID-19 kept many Fairfax County Public Schools students at home, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology principal Dr. Ann Bonitatibus sent an email urging students and parents to "think of the privileges you hold that others may ...