Todd F. Gaziano

Chief of Legal Policy and Strategic Research, and Director, Center for the Separation of Powers DC

Todd Gaziano joined PLF in 2014. He is the Chief of Legal Policy and Strategic Research and he directs PLF’s Center for the Separation of Powers. Todd has served in all three branches of the federal government, worked in the private sector, and is a well-known scholar and leader in the liberty legal movement.

Todd attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. His public law work includes service as a law clerk for U.S. Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones, in the U.S. DOJ Office of Legal Counsel, as a chief subcommittee counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as the founding director of The Heritage Foundation’s Legal Center. He also had a six-year term as commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where he reported on civil rights developments and conducted oversight and investigations of civil rights agencies. Early in his career, he was as a litigator in Houston, and more recently, was the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of an innovative healthcare delivery and IT company.

Todd is a frequent legal commentator in print, on radio and TV, before congressional committees, and in other public settings. With more than 20 years in the liberty movement, Todd continues to publish scholarly papers and op-eds on constitutional and legal reform topics. He has a special interest in the constitutional limits of government, especially federalism and the separation of powers, and protections for individual rights. Several of his scholarly articles have influenced landmark Supreme Court litigation, congressional policy, and presidential actions. He also has worked to increase the effectiveness of many organizations within the freedom-based public interest legal movement.

Todd and his wife, also a practicing attorney, reside in Northern Virginia and are proud of their liberty-minded daughter, who is studying at the Antonin Scalia Law School to continue the family trade.

Hanke and Yoo v. Secretary Cardona

Educrats can’t ignore oversight board members appointed by the previous administration

In the final months of the previous administration, the president appointed several people to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES)—a board that advises officials within the agency on research and funding priorities. But the U.S. Department of Education refuses to deliver the appointees’ signed commissions, which are pro ...

Bad rulemaking threatens good conservation Kansas Natural Resource Coalition v. Department of Interior

Bad rulemaking threatens good conservation

A buffalo rancher by trade, Ken Klemm also uses his 4,000-acre ranch in Kansas for conservation efforts. In fact, Klemm works with the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition (KNRC) to implement a conservation plan for the lesser prairie chicken. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers such local collaboration for determining endangered listings und ...

Tugaw Ranches, LLC. v. U.S. Department of Interior

Illegal rulemaking threatens livelihoods

Like many western U.S. ranching families, the Picketts have worked on the same land in Idaho for many generations and have a thriving business selling naturally raised beef. And like many ranchers, their business depends on grazing permissions on federal land. But their livelihoods are threatened by rules that set aside over 65-million acres of fed ...

Rinehart v. California

Golden State no more? California bans gold prospecting

California’s original Forty-Niners made their fortunes in gold with shovels and pans. Modern-day prospectors use a “suction dredge” – a specialized vacuum – to suck up sediment from streams, extract the gold, and then return the sediment to the stream. Federal law not only permits but encourages suction dredge mining, even on ...

Lobster Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross

President Obama’s abuse of Antiquities Act declares 5,000 square miles of ocean off-limits

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare monuments on “land owned or controlled by the Federal government” to protect their historic or scientific value. On his way out of office, President Obama used this power to declare a 5,000-square-mile area of the ocean to be the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Natio ...

Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt

Victory! Federal Court dismisses challenge to Congressional Review Act

PLF scored another victory against bureaucratic overreach on May 9, when the federal court in Alaska dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). At issue in this lawsuit was a regulation known as the Refuges Rule, which greatly restricted access to and use of land within Alaskan Wildlife Refuges. Con ...

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February 08, 2021

The Wall Street Journal: Who gets to make the rules? Washington may finally get it right

Biden should keep Trump's last-minute executive order making regulation more accountable. President Biden's team is understandably skeptical of "midnight" executive actions issued during President Trump's final weeks, but one order, issued Jan. 18, is as valuable in reinforcing democratic accountability as it is constitutionally necessary. It is in ...

April 29, 2019

The Hill: 1,860 unconstitutional FDA rules

This article was originally published by The Hill on April 29, 2019. Will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) change its rule-making practices when it learns that 98 percent of its regulations since 2001 were unconstitutional? That's the figure we uncovered in a comprehensive study examining 2,952 Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations ...

August 31, 2018

Investor’s Business Daily: Taming The Regulatory State: It’s A Constitutional Imperative

Originally published by Investor’s Business Daily August 31, 2018. According to one Mercatus Center study, each of us must obey over 1 million regulatory dictates, vastly more than the statutes written by our elected lawmakers in Congress. But the sheer number is not the only, or even the worst, problem. The more troubling issue is the ...

May 29, 2018

Two-and-a-half cheers for May’s historic CRA actions

Originally published by The Hill May 29, 2018. The Congress and President Trump set two historic precedents last week when they enacted a law overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) illegal and misguided "guidance" on auto loans by car dealers. Because Congress used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to pass the resolution ...

April 12, 2018

National Review: Restoring the indispensable protection for liberty

Published in National Review April 12, 2018. This week, the Pacific Legal Foundation filed a second wave of lawsuits in our campaign to accelerate the end of the unconstitutional administrative state. PLF's coordinated litigation campaign challenges violations of regulatory-reform mandates, most notably multiple agency failures to send rules to Con ...

February 28, 2018

Wall Street Journal: Career civil servants illegitimately rule America

Originally published in The Wall Street Journal February 28, 2018. After Kimberly Manor lost her husband to lung cancer, she was inspired to make a dramatic career change. Kimberly now owns and operates Moose Jooce in Lake, Mich., a "vape shop" that sells various electronic nicotine devices. These products use battery-powered coils to vaporize liqu ...