Ethan W. Blevins


Ethan Blevins is an attorney working in PLF’s free speech, property rights, and separation of powers practice groups. He has spent most of his PLF career suing his favorite defendant, the City of Seattle, and has earned a nickname from The Seattle Times as “the sharpest pin around to the council’s liberal bubble.” He’s had a life-long dream to earn a superhero name, so he proudly accepts the teasing title of “The Pin” from his co-workers.

In addition to his legal work, Ethan has spoken and written on a variety of legal and policy issues. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and his writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Seattle Times, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Hill, and other major publications.

Ethan’s introduction to liberty began as a teenager when he read Arthur Koestler’s chilling account of communism in Darkness at Noon. He was living in China at the time, and he saw firsthand the corruption and poverty wrought by dictatorship.

He felt inspired to dedicate his legal career to fighting for liberty after clerking for then-Justice Don Willett on the Texas Supreme Court, a judge known for his fierce commitment to constitutional rights (and his Twitter presence).

Ethan earned his law degree cum laude from Duke School of Law, as well as a master’s in international and comparative law. Ethan is a prolific writer of poetry and fiction. He’s completed a fantasy novel, with several other books always in the works. He also enjoys mnemonics, comic books, gaming, and playing the ukulele. He lives in Bountiful, Utah, with his wife and four kids.

Skyworks Ltd. v. Centers for Disease Control; Chambless Enterprises, LLC v. Centers for Disease Control

Fighting the CDC’s national eviction ban to restore separation of powers

In September 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted an order that prohibited certain evictions for non-payment of rent. However, in its haste to enact and enforce a national eviction ban, the CDC overstepped its lawful authority by exercising legislative power reserved to Congress, and it did so at the expense of struggl ...

Key in Lock El Papel v. City of Seattle

Fighting unlawful eviction bans masked as a pandemic response

In the wake of COVID-19, Washington State and Seattle joined a number of cities and states to enact emergency eviction bans that eliminated landlords’ ability to evict tenants who violate lease terms, such as by neglecting to pay their rent. Seattle added an ordinance that prohibits landlords from seeking full repayment for up to a year from ...

Navigable Waters Cases

Fighting government’s make-believe, illegal definition of navigable waters

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has a seemingly simple purpose: protect the navigable waters of the United States from pollution. The federal agencies charged with carrying out and enforcing the law, however, have expanded the definition of “navigable waters” several times since the Act went on the books in 1972. Represented by PLF free of ch ...

contractor Minnesota Assoc. Builders and Contractors v. Minneapolis Public School District

Bulldozing unfair, illegal union-rigged construction scheme

With 75 buildings and 35,000 students, there’s plenty of construction work in the Minneapolis School District. But many hardworking Minnesotans never get a shot at a school project. In 2004, the district adopted a project labor agreement, or PLA, that favors politically powerful unions over nonunion contractors. This type of agreement forces ...

Freedom Foundation v. Washington Dept. of Ecology

State agency Scrooge violates Santa’s First Amendment rights

Each year around the holidays, Washington-based Freedom Foundation sends staff members to the lobbies of state agency buildings. These staffers—dressed as Santa—hand out leaflets that explain state employees’ right to opt out of union dues. Allowed by most agencies, the Washington Department of Ecology in 2017 instead prohibited the leafl ...

Wilkins v. United States of America

Government bait-and-switch tramples on property rights and peace of mind

Wil Wilkins and Jane Stanton live next to Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest. A road that crosses both of their properties is the result of a limited-use easement granted to the U.S. Forest Service by the properties’ previous owners in 1962. The general public is not supposed to use the road, but in 2006 the Forest Service began adver ...

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September 20, 2021

Why is it so hard to be a California farmer?

In August, California's State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to drastically reduce farmers' rights to draw water from the state's two largest rivers. The decision was just the latest in a series of blows to thousands of California farmers who are struggling to keep their farms alive, thanks to shrinking water allocations and hostil ...

August 11, 2021

Daily Journal: When Washington bureaucrats hold the reins of power

The Biden administration was in a box in late July. They desperately wanted to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's controversial eviction moratorium. But the judicial writing was on the wall. They had suffered an embarrassing string of losses in the federal courts and had received a warning from the U.S. Supreme Co ...

July 26, 2021

The Hill: COVID-19 eviction bans expose deeper hostility toward property ownership

What would you think if the government dictated that you won't be paid for more than a year but you must keep working? As unlikely as you might consider such a scenario, this hypothetical is Howard Iten's reality. Iten, a commercial landlord in Los Angeles, is under Los Angeles County's pandemic-driven mandate to continue running ...

April 26, 2021

The Hill: The National Labor Relations Board embraces ‘cancel culture’

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently declared that Elon Musk violated federal law with this tweet: "Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when ...

April 09, 2021

There are better ways to house people than by banning evictions

A common government response to the pandemic has been to freeze evictions to keep people housed. While these moratoria may be attractive on the surface, this shortsighted tactic will only constrict access to affordable housing. There are better paths forward. Pacific Legal Foundation has challenged several of these eviction moratoria in court (see ...

March 30, 2021

Momentum is building against the CDC eviction ban

The tide has begun to turn in the legal battle over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Property owners have hammered the CDC with a flurry of lawsuits since the agency adopted an order last September barring landlords from evicting non-paying tenants. PLF is lead counsel in ...