Constitutional

Pacifica attorneys regularly handle complex federal and state constitutional issues and disputes on behalf of public and private clients.  We offer services ranging from consulting to litigation at the trial and appellate levels, and we are well versed in both the procedural and substantive issues inherent in litigating constitutional cases. We have litigated such cases in federal and state courts in Washington and elsewhere across the country.

Our team has decades of collective experience both as litigators and as advisors on constitutional issues, and we have represented clients in dozens of successful constitutional challenges and defenses. We also have assisted clients to prevent constitutional disputes from arising in the first place and to address them short of litigation. We stand ready to help our clients resolve their most pressing and difficult problems whenever fundamental rights and governmental authority intersect.

The Constitutional Areas in Which We Practice

Pacifica’s constitutional work encompasses a variety of subject areas and provisions, including:

  • First Amendment: Speech, Assembly, and Religion.  Our team regularly assists clients navigating this complex, difficult, and shifting area of law. We advise and litigate on the validity of speech restrictions, campaign, and electoral regulations, compelled subsidies, defamation, protest management, religious free exercise, and numerous other issues related to the freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion. Recent representative matters include successful defenses of a school district’s reasonable restrictions on its communications with a parent; Washington’s framework for the licensing and regulation of attorneys; and a municipality’s reasonable management of an event involving dueling protest groups.
  • Second Amendment: Guns.  Our attorneys assist public and private clients to analyze the constitutionality of gun regulations and their implementation in this developing area of the law, including the scope of federal and state constitutional gun rights and their intersection with other constitutional rights. We analyze legislation and initiatives, assist with their implementation, and litigate challenges to enacted gun regulations.
  • Due Process, Equal Protection, Privacy, and Privileges and Immunities. Pacifica attorneys regularly advise and litigate on due process issues, both substantive and procedural, and equal protection requirements. Our team also has significant experience with related Washington constitutional rights, including the prohibition against arbitrary and capricious governmental action, the constitutional right of privacy, and the guarantee of privileges and immunities to all citizens.
  • Taxation and Public Funds. Our attorneys regularly advise on tax and public funding issues. We have successfully litigated cases implicating Washington constitutional principles of taxation, both state and municipal, and the prohibitions against gifts of public funds and the lending of public credit. Representative matters include a successful challenge to Washington’s prior “two-thirds” vote requirement for tax increases; a successful defense of a municipality’s public program subsidizing environmental protection measures; and a successful defense of a municipal taxation approach affecting other governmental bodies.
  • Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation. Pacifica attorneys regularly advise and litigate condemnation disputes on behalf of public agencies that are developing important community projects. This includes significant experience with takings valuations and inverse condemnation claims.
  • Washington Legislation, Initiatives, Referenda, and Recalls. Pacifica attorneys have extensive experience with Washington’s specialized constitutional requirements governing legislation, initiatives, referenda, and recall petitions. We have counseled clients seeking to ensure compliance with these requirements and litigated disputes arising under them, including issues ranging from the single-subject and subject-in-title requirements for legislation to the signature-gathering and formatting requirements for citizen petitions.
  • Commerce. Pacifica attorneys advise and litigate on behalf of clients in commercial disputes implicating constitutional provisions such as the Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause, and Contract Clause. Our attorneys have successfully pursued and defended against such constitutional claims before a variety of tribunals, both judicial and administrative.

Practice Attorneys

Alanna E. Peterson

Alanna E. Peterson

ASSOCIATE
Kai Smith

Kai Smith

ASSOCIATE
Sarah S. Washburn

Sarah S. Washburn

OF COUNSEL
Greg Wong

Greg Wong

PARTNER
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