Robert Frommer serves as a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. He joined the Institute in August 2008 and litigates cases both to secure individuals’ rights to private property and to protect free speech.
Robert is the Director of the Institute for Justice’s Project on the Fourth Amendment, which litigates to increase search and seizure protections for all Americans. As part of that effort, Robert is counsel in Snitko v. FBI, a case that challenges the FBI’s blanket search of hundreds of safe-deposit boxes based on a warrant it obtained with a ruse. He also is fighting in state courts to roll back the federal “open fields doctrine,” which wrongfully denies people constitutional protection in most private land in this country.
Robert is also part of the Institute for Justice’s efforts to end civil forfeiture. He was lead counsel on Sourovelis v. City of Philadelphia, a case in which IJ brought an end to Philadelphia’s “forfeiture machine” and secured millions of dollars in restitution for its victims.
Lastly, Robert litigates in the First Amendment realm, particularly with respect to commercial speech and cities’ attempts to prohibit signs based on what they depict. He is lead counsel on Young v. Conway New Hampshire, where he is leading a free speech challenge to Conway’s attempt to censor a small-town bakery’s whimsical donut mural.
Robert’s views have been published in a number of print and online newspapers and journals, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun .
Before joining IJ, Robert was an attorney with the Washington, D.C., office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He is a former law clerk to Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Robert received his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 2004.
New Jersey Parents File Federal Class Action Lawsuit Challenging State’s Secret Retention of Newborn Blood for 23 Years
Like all new mothers, New Jersey residents Hannah Lovaglio and Erica Jedynak each experienced the usual emotional whirlwind during their pregnancies. They had attended prenatal classes, meticulously planned their nurseries, and devoured books on parenting.
After giving up on using civil forfeiture to claim their safe deposit boxes, the FBI did not return all of Don, Jeni, and Michael's property. They are suing to get their missing coins and cash…
Josh Highlander’s son is afraid of the boogeyman. While playing with his mother in the yard, their basketball rolled toward the woods. She was shocked to see a figure standing in their woods wearing a…
Linda Martin's home savings were seized by the FBI. She received a confusing forfeiture notice that didn't clearly say what she did wrong for the government to want to take her money.
Leavitt's Country Bakery Owner Sean Young filed a federal lawsuit against the town of Conway, after town officials demanded he paint over a mural that was created by local high school students last summer.
Michigan Homeowners Fight to Vindicate Fourth Amendment Protections Against Warrantless Surveillance Using Drones
Todd and Heather Maxon live on a five-acre property in rural Long Lake Township, in northern Michigan. Todd spends his free time fixing up and tinkering with cars and other vehicles. He keeps those vehicles…
For years, wildlife officers in Pennsylvania have been ignoring the privacy rights of hunters under the so-called “open fields doctrine,” which posits that private land doesn’t receive privacy protections. This IJ suit challenges the constitutionality…
FBI agents broke into hundreds of private security deposit box without warrants. Holding government officials accountable for violating Fourth Amendment rights is crucial to ensure similar abuses don’t occur in the future.
Case asks court to end “policing for profit” and restore South Carolinians’ expectation that they are innocent until proven guilty
South Carolina’s civil forfeiture laws violate the rights of all South Carolinians to be free from excessive fines and fees. Caught up in this was Travis Green who had his money seized. Now, he is…
Tennessee Wildlife officials were caught putting cameras on Terry Rainwaters’ property, ignoring his “No Trespassing” signs. Terry and another rural Tennessee property owner are joining forces with IJ to fight back against the “open fields…
In 2019, the city of Mandan told Augie and Brian they’d have to remove their mural because it promoted a business. Augie and Brian successfully teamed up with IJ to stop the town’s law which…
Americans have a right to know details about misdeeds being committed by their government. LancasterOnline, a publication in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, worked with IJ to ensure citizens have access to information about what police are taking…
No Meals on Wheels—Wisconsin Town Stops Family Business From Operating State-Licensed Food Truck on Its Own Private Property
The town of Gibraltar and Door County, Wisconsin once had full-blown ban on food vending trucks, that is until IJ stepped in. After hearing IJ’s case on behalf of food truck operators, a Door County…
How Louisville Helps Restaurants Shut Down Their Food-Truck Competition, and How IJ Is Going to Stop It.
City Council members in Louisville worked closely with established brick-and-mortar restaurants to keep out food truck competition. IJ secured a federal court order barring the city from discriminating against food trucks and then successfully worked…
The town of Orange Park, Florida banned Scott Fisher from putting an inflatable blow-up of the video game character Mario in front of his video game store. IJ and Scott challenged the town’s law that…
Fighting the Philadelphia Forfeiture Machine: Philadelphia Deprives People of Their Rights While Trying to Forfeit and Profit from Their Property
Police and prosecutors use civil forfeiture to strip thousands of Americans of their rights and property. Nowhere is the problem more rampant than in Philadelphia.
Chicago shouldn’t be in the business of protecting restaurants from food trucks.
Federal Appellate Court OKs City’s Crackdown on Protest Sign: 4th Circuit fails to protect Norfolk business’ eminent domain protest banner; lawyers, business owners vow appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
In a double blow to free speech and property rights, Norfolk, Va., tried not only to take a thriving business through its power of eminent domain but also censor a highly visible sign that protested…
After decades of keeping two-thirds of the city under a bogus “blight” designation, National City, Calif., applied to renew the blight label to prevent it from expiring. That renewal would have reauthorized the city to…
Robert's Research & Reports
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says his “administration is committed to creating the conditions and opportunities that will allow this industry [food trucks] to thrive, create jobs and support a vibrant food culture across…
Economic Liberty | Vending
In order to foster the conditions that will let food trucks thrive, this report offers recommendations based on the legislative best practices of Los Angeles and other cities.
Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Vending
Street vending is, and always has been, a part of the American economy and a fixture of urban life. Thanks to low start-up costs, the trade has offered countless entrepreneurs—particularly immigrants and others with little…
Rather than pursuing their dreams, too many residents in Washington, D.C., move to more hospitable jurisdictions, take their businesses underground or simply give up.
Robert's Amicus Briefs
Long Lake Township v. Maxon
Michigan Supreme Court
Tuggle v. United States
United States Supreme Court
Hernandez v. Mesa Jr.
Carpenter v. United States
United States Supreme Court
Espinoza v. City of Albuquerque
New Mexico Court of Appeals, Albuquerque
Reed v. Town of Gilbert
US Supreme Court
McCullen v. Coakley
US Supreme Court
Florida v. Harris
U.S. Supreme Court
Doe v. Reed
US Supreme Court
Alvarez v. Smith
U.S. Supreme Court