Bradley Prize recipient William H. “Chip” Mellor is president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice (IJ) in Arlington, Va., which he co-founded in 1991. In 1998, Mellor launched the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at The University of Chicago Law School and in 2011, he started IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement.
Under Mellor’s leadership, IJ pursues strategic litigation that combines courtroom advocacy with effective media relations, activism, and research to secure constitutional protection for individual rights. It has secured major victories in U.S. Supreme Court cases for economic liberty, school choice, property rights, and the First Amendment. Mellor personally litigated lawsuits that ended Denver’s 50-year-old tax monopoly and ended the funeral industry’s monopoly on casket sales in Tennessee, achieving the first federal appellate-court victory for economic liberty under the 14th Amendment since the New Deal.
Previously, Mellor served as president of the Pacific Research Institute. He also served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan as deputy general counsel for legislation and regulations in the Department of Energy. From 1979 to 1983, he practiced public-interest law with the Mountain States Legal Foundation in Denver.
Mellor is co-author of The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom. His regular “Constitutional Crossroads” column is carried online by Forbes magazine. His commentary has appeared in national publications, and he has appeared on major television and radio networks. Fox Business’ John Stossel has named Mellor a “Champion of Freedom.”
Mellor received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and his J.D. from the University of Denver School of Law.