Erica Smith is an attorney with the Institute for Justice. She joined IJ in August 2011 and litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases protecting free speech, educational choice, property rights, and economic liberty in federal and state courts.
Erica’s free speech work includes her successful defense of a family’s right to use signs to advertise its gym in Fears v. City of Sacramento. She was also part of the team that successfully defended Central Radio Company’s right to protest the illegal taking of its land in Central Radio Co. v. City of Norfolk. Most recently, Erica won the right of a family-owned video game store to advertise using a 9-foot inflatable Mario in Fisher v. Town of Orange Park.
Erica’s economic liberty work has a special focus on “food freedom.” Erica won Wisconsin home bakers the constitutional right to legally sell their goods in Kivirist v. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Before this victory, hundreds of home bakers had been subject to fines and jail time merely for selling their cookies, cakes, and muffins. Erica also successfully defended the rights of home bakers to fight against Minnesota’s arbitrary restrictions on selling their goods in Astramecki v. Minnesota Department of Agriculture. In addition, Erica is part of the team suing Chicago for its protectionist restrictions on food trucks.
Erica’s educational choice work gives parents the opportunity to guide the education of their children. She was part of the winning teams that protected both Georgia and New Hampshire’s Tax Credit Scholarship Programs at the state supreme courts in Gaddy v. Georgia Department of Revenue and Duncan v. State of New Hampshire. She is currently fighting to similarly protect Montana’s school choice program at the Montana Supreme Court. Erica also testifies as to the constitutionality of other educational choice programs across the country.
Erica has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning and Fox & Friends, and her writing has been published in the Washington Times, New York Post, Times-Free Press, The Virginian-Pilot, National Law Journal, and Federalist Society Review. She has also been quoted in media outlets across the nation, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
Before joining IJ, Erica served as a law clerk for the Honorable Terrence Boyle of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Erica received her law degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2010. Erica received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Stony Brook University’s Honors College in 2007, where she studied literature and journalism. Erica is originally from Bay Shore, N.Y.