Erica Smith is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. She joined IJ in August 2011 and litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases protecting economic liberty, school choice, and free speech in federal and state courts.
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. As a result, hundreds of home bakers across the state can now sell their cookies, cakes, and muffins without fear of fines or jail time. Erica also successfully defended the rights of home bakers and canners to fight against Minnesota’s arbitrary restrictions on selling their goods in Astramecki v. Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Erica is currently suing New Jersey—the last state to have a ban on selling homemade food. Erica’s legislative activities have also helped change the homemade food laws of several states.
Erica’s educational choice work gives parents the opportunity to guide the education of their children. She was the lead attorney representing families in Asociación de Maestros v. Departamento de Educación, where she persuaded the Puerto Rico Supreme Court to reject a teachers union’s challenge to the Commonwealth’s new voucher program. Erica was also 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 protect Montana’s school choice program at the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, Erica testifies as to the constitutionality of other educational choice programs across the country.
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 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 has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CBS This Morning, and Fox & Friends, and her writing has been published in USA Today, 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.