Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock

Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice

Topics: Criminal Law & Procedure • Federalism & Separation of Powers • Environmental Law & Property Rights • Free Speech & Election Law • Litigation

Scott Bullock joined the Institute for Justice at its founding in 1991 and now serves as a senior attorney.  Although he has litigated in all of the Institute's areas, his current work focuses on property rights and economic liberty cases in federal and state courts.

In property rights, Bullock has been involved in many cases challenging the use of eminent domain for private development.  He argued the landmark case, Kelo v. City of New London, one of the most controversial and widely discussed U.S. Supreme Court decisions in decades.  Along with co-counsel Dana Berliner, Bullock secured the first state supreme court victory after Kelo, where the Supreme Court of Ohio unanimously struck down the use of eminent domain for private development.  Some of his other successes in this area include spearheading the litigation that saved a beachfront neighborhood in Long Branch, New Jersey, a small record label in Nashville, Tennessee, and the homes of the Archie family in Canton, Mississippi.

In addition to litigation, Bullock works extensively on grassroots campaigns with homeowners, small business owners, and activists throughout the country to oppose condemnations for private use.  Following the Kelodecision, he drafted legislation and testified before numerous committees when legislatures began reforming abusive eminent domain laws.

Bullock directs the Institute’s campaign against civil forfeiture, a nationwide effort to challenge the ability of governments to take property from owners without a criminal conviction.  He is co-author of Policing for Profit, a comprehensive report published in 2010 documenting forfeiture abuse at all levels of government.

Among his work on other constitutional issues, Bullock currently represents the monks of St. Joseph Abbey in their challenge to a Louisiana law that prevents them from selling hand-made wooden caskets.  He also served as lead counsel in the Institute's First Amendment challenge to a federal regulatory agency’s campaign against investment newsletters, computer software and websites, establishing one of the first federal precedents extending free speech guarantees to Internet and software publishers.   He has led successful lawsuits against rental inspection laws on behalf of tenants and defending efforts to open up taxi markets to more competition.    

Bullock’s articles and views on constitutional litigation have appeared in a wide variety of media.  He has published articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and he has appeared on 60 MinutesABC Nightly News, and National Public Radio, among many other publications and broadcasts.

His volunteer activities include serving on the boards of HR-57, a Washington, D.C.-based music and cultural center dedicated to the promotion of jazz and a national forfeiture reform organization.

Bullock was born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his B.A. in economics and philosophy from Grove City College.