Anya Bidwell is an attorney with the Institute for Justice and IJ’s current Elfie Gallun Fellow in Freedom and the Constitution. Anya is one of the leaders of IJ’s Project on Immunity and Accountability. Through this project, Anya works to promote judicial engagement and ensure that government officials are held to account when they violate individuals’ constitutional rights.

In November 2020, Anya, as part of the Project on Immunity and Accountability, helped argue a U.S. Supreme Court case Brownback v. King, involving an innocent college student who was brutally beaten by undercover law enforcement officers. The case is now going back to the Sixth Circuit on the issue of whether two claims brought in the same lawsuit can cancel each other out, simply because one of the claims was brought against the federal government. In 2019, Anya was a co-counsel in another U.S. Supreme Court case brought by IJ, this time on behalf of two small business owners. In that case–Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomasthe Justices, in a 7-2 decision, held that states cannot engage in protectionism by imposing durational residency requirements on newly arrived residents, even in the context of the Twenty-First Amendment.

Before joining IJ, Anya was a litigation attorney with a top national law firm, handling cases in trial and appellate courts. She earned her J.D. with honors from the University of Texas, where she worked as a student attorney at the United States Supreme Court Clinic. Two years prior to entering law school, Anya received a Master’s degree in Global Policy Studies, also from the University of Texas, and wrote a thesis on asymmetric warfare.

Anya grew up in the Former Soviet Union. She came to America at 16, on a university scholarship. Her upbringing motivated her to study law and become an advocate for a strong, independent judiciary.

Anya’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the USA Today, and the Guardian. She is also the host of live recordings of our Short Circuit podcast, which take place on student campuses across the country.

Anya's Cases

Immunity and Accountability

Will Federal Cops Remain Above the Law?

When police violate the rights of Americans, as they did to Kevin Byrd and Hamdi Mahmoud, they should be held accountable. IJ is asking the Supreme Court to take both of these cases and ensure…

Immunity and Accountability

Oliva v. Nivar

José Oliva was brutally beaten by federal officers in an unprovoked attack at a VA Hospital. This attack violated his Fourth Amendment rights, and IJ filed a petition to have the Supreme Court take on…

Economic Liberty

Can States Bar Newcomers from Owning a Business?

A Tennessee law required that in order to open a liquor store, one must be a Tennessee resident for two years. With help from IJ, Doug and Mary Ketchum challenged this law, bringing it all…

Commercial Speech | Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Food Freedom | Food Freedom

Maryland Dairy Farmers Sue for Right to Tell the Truth

The FDA prevented Randy Sowers from labelling his skim milk as “skim milk” even though that’s exactly what it is. The First Amendment protects Randy’s right to tell the truth about his product, and after…

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Anya's Amicus Briefs

Craig v. Martin

Craig v. Martin

U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

J.W. v. Paley

J.W. v. Paley

5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Cope v. Cogdill

Cope v. Cogdill

5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

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Anya's News, Articles & Publications

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