Michael Bindas is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ) and leads IJ’s educational choice team. In this role, he oversees a talented group of IJ attorneys who help policymakers design constitutionally defensible educational choice programs and who defend educational choice programs in courtrooms nationwide. He joined IJ in 2005.
Michael was part of IJ’s litigation team in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held the exclusion of religious options from Montana’s educational choice program unconstitutional, and he led IJ’s defense of the Choice Scholarship Program for elementary and secondary students in Douglas County, Colorado. He also successfully challenged Washington’s denial of special education services to children in religious schools, as well as the state’s exclusion of sectarian options from its state work study program. Currently, he leads IJ’s challenge to Maine’s exclusion of religious options from its educational choice program.
Prior to leading IJ’s educational choice team, Michael litigated extensively to secure economic liberty, property rights, and freedom of speech throughout the nation. He was counsel of record at the U.S. Supreme Court for Doug and Mary Ketchum in Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas, a successful challenge to Tennessee’s durational residency requirements for retail liquor licenses. He also led successful challenges to the municipal sign codes of St. Louis, Mo. and Norfolk, Va., after those cities attempted to silence protests of their abusive eminent domain practices. And he currently represents brothers Jim and Cliff Courtney in a challenge to Washington’s protectionist ferry regulations on Lake Chelan.
Prior to joining IJ, Michael spent three years as an attorney with Perkins Coie LLP, where he litigated constitutional and False Claims Act issues. He is a former law clerk to Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and served as an engineer officer in the United States Army and Pennsylvania Army National Guard before beginning his legal career.
Michael received his law degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2001, where he served as Articles Editor for the Journal of Constitutional Law and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He received his undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1995.