Brian Kelsey - Liberty Justice Center

Brian Kelsey

Brian Kelsey is a Senior Attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. He litigates constitutional law cases in federal court, advocating for the rights of economic liberty and free speech throughout the country. Brian has led almost fifteen cases filed by LJC to defend the rights created by LJC’s seminal case, Janus v. AFSCME. He was also a lead attorney on Illinois Opportunity Project v. Holden, which successfully struck down New Jersey’s law requiring disclosure of donations to public interest nonprofits. Brian partnered with Daniel Suhr to spearhead LJC’s school choice practice, starting with two cases in Brian’s home state of Tennessee that defend a 2019 school choice law for which Brian was a critical advocate in the State Senate and drafted the final language of the bill. 

Brian has served as Tennessee State Senator for the Memphis area since December 2009. He is the only legislator in Tennessee history to sponsor two successful amendments to the state constitution: one to forever prohibit a state income tax and another to establish a Founding Father’s model for selecting appellate judges. In addition, Brian sponsored and passed Governor Bill Haslam’s 2011 tort reform bill as well as 2014 legislation that banned Medicaid expansion under Obamacare in Tennessee. In 2020, he sponsored a third constitutional amendment to put Tennesseeans’ “right to work” in the state constitution. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Brian served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 2004 to 2009. 

Prior to working for Liberty Justice Center, Brian started and led his own law firm, where he focused on commercial litigation defense. He began his career as a civil litigator at a medium-sized law firm in Memphis.

Brian has taught constitutional law and government relations at the University of Memphis and its law school, the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. He is an avid college basketball fan, having received his B.A. with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University, where he was president of the Federalist Society and interned in the White House Counsel’s Office under President George W. Bush. He was hired for the job by now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh. More recently, he has served on the board of the Memphis Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society. 

Brian is a member of the Tennessee Bar and is admitted to practice law in several federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Contact Brian at bkelsey@libertyjusticecenter.org.

Resources

Liberty Justice Center represents North Carolina General Assembly in fight to protect scholarships for low-income students

Attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center are representing the North Carolina General Assembly in a legal fight to protect a scholarship program that provides educational opportunities for thousands of low-income students.

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Mark Janus files brief defending WA workers’ right to stop union dues

Mark Janus, the lead plaintiff in the landmark 2018 Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, submitted an amicus brief in Washington case.

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Order issued in Illinois Vote By Mail case

Late this afternoon a federal judge ruled in the lawsuit challenging Illinois’ new Vote By Mail program that ballot harvesting is illegal and political operatives cannot collect mass amounts of mail-in ballots and submit them to election authorities.

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Cook County GOP Sues to Block State’s Enhanced Vote-By-Mail Efforts – The Chicago Tribune

The suit alleges that while “voting is a fundamental, constitutional right that is central to our democracy,” Pritzker “violated this right by signing into law a partisan voting scheme that is designed to harvest Democratic ballots, dilute Republican ballots, and, if the election still doesn’t turn out the way he wants it, to generate enough Democratic ballots after election day to sway the result.”

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