Constitutional Law

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Dickinson Wright provides successful counsel to resolve myriad disputes arising under the United States Constitution and state constitutions. We represent states, governmental subdivisions (including counties, cities, towns, and special taxing districts), government officials, private corporations, and individuals in both defenses of and challenges to a diverse range of legislation and other government action. The firm prides itself on formulating innovative legal theories and advising our clients on the constitutional implications of new legislation.


We are a firm of trial lawyers and appellate advocates—including former federal and state appellate judicial clerks—and are especially effective at crafting legal arguments addressing the constitutional principles in question. We handle numerous First Amendment cases involving the Free Expression, Establishment, Freedom of Association, and Freedom of the Press Clauses, as well as analogous cases arising under state constitutions.


Additionally, our team represents both private and governmental clients in matters involving challenges to statutory and regulatory enactments (or enforcement) on constitutional grounds, such as the Contracts Clauses of federal and state constitutions, the Dormant Commerce Clause, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, or the separation of powers doctrine.


We regularly represent governmental subdivisions and their employees in actions pursued pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, and concomitant claims arising under the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


Our substantial experience representing clients in litigating constitutional challenges involves actions in state trial and appellate courts, federal district courts, federal courts of appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Because of our extensive experience acting as advocates for our clients, we are well suited to counsel our governmental clients regarding the constitutionality of proposed actions and legislation, and to counsel all of our clients with an eye to effecting change before the commencement of litigation.

Representative Matters

–Represented large gaming enterprise in challenging new statutory scheme as violative of the Contracts Clauses of the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions, the Dormant Commerce Clause, and the First Amendment.

–Currently representing insurer and insureds before New Mexico Supreme Court on constitutionality of New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act’s damages cap under state constitution’s jury right, equal protection, and due process provisions.

–Represented the four largest national trade associations of property and casualty insurers as amici curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court in State Farm v. Campbell, which set constitutional limits on the size of punitive damages awards.

–Represented state’s largest utility in successfully challenging, on due process grounds, a municipal tax code amendment that had not been properly published.

–Represented in the U.S. Supreme Court, on pro bono basis, Jewish, Catholic, and Lutheran school tuition organizations in upholding the constitutionality of Arizona’s private-school tuition tax credit against a First Amendment Challenge, and filed the only amicus brief approvingly cited by the U.S. Solicitor General and State of Arizona.

–Representation of commercial landlords regarding challenges to Executive Orders ostensibly preventing enforcement of commercial lease default provisions as violative of Article 1, Section 10 (the “Contracts Clause”) of the United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 25 of the Arizona Constitution, and under the separation of powers doctrine.

–Successful defense of Arizona municipality in defense of Establishment Clause claim related to the permitted use of municipal property for religious group.

–Successful defense of Arizona municipality in defense of Establishment Clause and Equal Protection claims brought by group calling itself The Satanic Temple with respect to attempts to give an invocation prior to city council meeting.

–Successful appeal of decision to Arizona Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court involving a challenge to the constitutionality of car rental surcharge under the Dormant Commerce Clause and Article 9, § 14 of the Arizona Constitution.

–Successful appeal of decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of First Amendment (free speech) claim against Arizona municipality.

–Successful defense in United States District Court against First Amendment (Establishment Clause) claims against Arizona municipality related to sign codes and limitations on electioneering.

–Successful defense of Arizona municipality in connection with a challenge to car rental surcharge.

–Successful defense in United States District Court of Arizona municipality and its employees against Equal Protection and Due Process Claims.

–Successful defense of Arizona Attorney General against Equal Protection and Due Process claims.

–Successful defense of Arizona corrections officers against Eighth Amendment claims.

–Successful defense of investigating officers against Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment claims in United States District Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

–Successfully defended and obtained dismissal of more than 50 cases brought under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in the United States District Court.

–Successful defense of state employees in United States District Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on various constitutional claims.

–Advised municipal clients extensively on Fifth Amendment regulatory takings issues.
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