Jeff Rowes serves as a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. His practice focuses on private property rights, free speech, and economic liberty.
Jeff currently represents cancer patients and their families, a prominent doctor, and a California nonprofit organization in a path-breaking constitutional challenge to the federal criminal ban on compensation for lifesaving bone marrow donors.
Jeff represents the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey in their federal constitutional challenge to Louisiana laws that make it a crime for the monks to sell their handmade wooden caskets to the public.
In the area of property rights, Jeff represents the Community Youth Athletic Center, a boxing and mentoring program for at-risk youth in National City, California near San Diego. National City, which declared the gym and hundreds of other properties “blighted,” approved a plan to seize the gym and transfer its land to a private developer so he can build luxury condos for the wealthy. He also successfully represented the elderly and working-class families of the beachfront MTOTSA neighborhood in Long Branch, N.J., which was rescued from the private developer’s wrecking ball.
In his First Amendment practice, Jeff successfully represented Chris Pagan before the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Pagan’s First Amendment suit against Glendale, Ohio for banning automobile "for sale" signs from parked cars. The 8-7 decision affirmed that commercial speech warrants important constitutional protection.
Jeff regularly publishes opinion pieces on constitutional law. Among these are a recent piece on the bone marrow case in the New York Times, a piece on judicial engagement in the Wall Street Journal, an op-ed at USA Today on economic liberty, and an essay in Legal Times about the state of property law in America following the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London.
A native of Alberta, Canada, Jeff dropped out of high school at 17, moved to the mountains to teach skiing, backpacked in Asia for six months, and then attended the University of Alberta, after which he lived two years in Japan as a translator. He came to the United States to pursue educational opportunities and fell in love with the American principles of liberty. He graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 2002 where he was extensively involved in law and economics. He also holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago in law and philosophy. Before coming to the Institute, Jeff clerked for Judge Will Garwood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Chief Judge Patricia Fawsett of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
When he’s not fighting for his clients’ rights, Jeff can be found rock-climbing natural wonders all over the world. In May 2010 he completed his first ironman triathlon.
Jeff Rowes is a member of the New York bar.