Steve Simpson

Director of Legal Studies
Ayn Rand Institute


  • The Supreme Court
  • Constitutional law
  • Freedom of speech
  • Campaign finance law
  • regulations
  • Individual rights
  • Government & business

Featured Work

Steve Simpson is the director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute. He writes, speaks and gives interviews for ARI on constitutional law, freedom of speech, campaign finance law and other legal topics.


A former senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, Mr. Simpson has litigated constitutional cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and state and federal courts throughout the nation on a wide variety of issues. He was co-counsel in Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, IJ’s successful Supreme Court challenge to Arizona’s public financing law. He was the lead litigator in v. FEC, the case that created Super PACs. He was on the legal team in IJ’s landmark eminent domain case Kelo v. City of New London and in IJ’s successful challenge to New York’s ban on the interstate shipping of wine in Swedenburg v. Kelly. He has litigated and been involved in many other constitutional cases.


Mr. Simpson has spoken and written widely on constitutional issues, including freedom of speech, campaign finance law, property rights and regulation. He has testified in Congress and briefed congressional staffers. He has been interviewed on hundreds of television and radio programs, including PBS NewsHour and Stossel. Steve’s writings have appeared in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Legal Times, Chicago Tribune and Slate. In 2014, Mr. Simpson was a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute. Mr. Simpson earned his law degree from New York Law School in 1994.  He is a member of the bars of New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Career Roles

Director of Legal Studies

Ayn Rand Institute
2013 – present

Senior Attorney

Institute for Justice
2001 – 2013

Associate Attorney

Shearman & Sterling
1996 – 2001

Law Clerk

Honorable Lenore C. Nesbitt
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
1994 – 1996

Selected Work


Defending Free Speech May 2016

Articles & Essays

“The Aristocracy of Pull: An Objectivist Analysis of Cronyism” in The Philosophy of Capitalism: Objectivism and Alternative Approaches (ed. Greg Salmieri and Robert Mayhew) (forthcoming).

“The Roots of the IRS Scandal” The Objective Standard Fall 2013

“Petitioner Privacy Rights Lost Amid Marriage Equality Fight," JURIST December 2011

Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America," The Objective Standard Spring 2010


“Judicial Review: What Does Morality Have to do with It?” Panel Discussion, Hobby Center for Public Policy, University of Houston April 7, 2016

“Debate on Intellectual Property,” Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism May 2015

“The Rule of Law,” Panel Discussion, Hobby Center for Public Policy, University of Houston April 7, 2015

Debate on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act Spring 2012

A Recap of the Supreme Court Hearings on the Health Reform Law May 10, 2012

University of Texas Free Speech Dialogues: “Campaign Finance Reform” Spring 2011

Citizens United and the Future of Campaign Finance Law August 2010

Citizens United Debate: Steve Simpson and Ilya Shapiro vs. Jamin Raskin and Rick Hasen June 2010

Committee Hearing: “Defining the Future of Campaign Finance Law in an Age of Supreme Court Activism” (testimony) February 3, 2010

Talks & Lectures

“Free Speech Under Siege”

“Is the First Amendment Enough?”

“Cronyism, Corruption, and Government Power”

“Freedom of Speech in the Roberts Court”