Wesley Hottot

Senior Attorney


The Washington Bar

The Texas Bar

Wesley Hottot joined the Institute for Justice in 2008. He is the co-director of IJ’s National Initiative to End Civil Forfeiture.

In 2019, he won the landmark case of Timbs v. Indiana in the U.S. Supreme Court , which established that state and local authorities must comply with the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment when they attempt to forfeit property.

In 2015, Wesley won another landmark victory in the Texas Supreme Court, when the court struck down the state’s eyebrow threading regulations and announced a new test for reviewing economic regulations under the Texas Constitution.  Recently, he has won a series of civil forfeiture cases, including the successful defense of a San Diego family who had their life savings seized because the father operated a legal medical-marijuana business.  His work has been discussed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Oregonian, Tennessean, Seattle Times, Austin American-Statesman, Dallas Morning News and other print, radio, and television outlets.

Wesley received his law degree from the University of Washington, where he completed a judicial externship with Justice Richard Sanders of the Washington Supreme Court and a two-year clerkship with the Institute’s Washington office. He was an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia and graduated with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa.

Wesley's Cases

First Amendment

Detroit Retaliation

Four years ago, Robert Reeves’ car was seized by police in Detroit using civil forfeiture. Although he was never charged with a crime, police attempted to use civil forfeiture to seize and keep Robert’s 1991…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Texas Forfeiture II

Harris County, Texas, has an unconstitutional financial incentive for law enforcement to seize property and cash excessively without probable cause, often sweeping up innocent people in the process. Ameal Woods and Jordan Davis are two…

Hair, Braiding, Louisiana

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Hair Braiding | Occupational Licensing

Louisiana Hair Braiders Fight For Right To Earn An Honest Living

Hair-braiders in Louisiana are required to complete 500 hours of unnecessary and irrelevant training, pass an exam and pay annual licensing fees just to do their job. Many hair braiders have moved to neighboring states,…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing | Transportation

Consumers Aren’t Property, and Competition Isn’t Theft

In November 2014, San Diego joined a growing number of cities by lifting its decades-long cap on the number of cabs allowed on its streets. For Abdi Abdisalan and Abdullahi Hassan, the dream of going…

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Wesley's Research & Reports

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Policing for Profit: Second Edition

Civil forfeiture laws pose some of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today, too often making it easy and lucrative for law enforcement to take and keep property—regardless of the owner’s guilt…

Houston, We Have a Problem

Economic Liberty

Houston, We Have a Problem

This report focuses on the areas Houston needs to improve in order to remain an opportunity city for all.

Bureaucratic Barbed Wire

Economic Liberty

Bureaucratic Barbed Wire

Texas has a unique heritage of inspiring entrepreneurs. But the state has been restricting the economic liberty long enjoyed by its citizens.

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Wesley's Amicus Briefs

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Wesley's News, Articles & Publications

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