MCPP names Ilya Shapiro Senior Fellow, announces Contributing Fellows

By Mississippi Center for Public Policy
January 24, 2019

Mississippi Center for Public Policy is excited to announce that Ilya Shapiro will lend his voice and expertise as a Senior Fellow and as the Chairman of the newly formed Advisory Board of the Mississippi Justice Institute.

Shapiro, who clerked for U.S. Fifth Circuit Judge E. Grady Jolly in Jackson, is the Director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute and is regarded as one of the preeminent Constitutional scholars in the country.

“It has long been an American tradition to engage the citizenry in public discussion of the important matters of the day,” said Jon Pritchett, President and CEO of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. “It is a vital component of a functioning republic. Today, we often refer to this as ‘thought leadership’ and I can think of no more thoughtful leader in today’s debates about our liberty than Ilya Shapiro. I’m absolutely delighted and honored that he has joined with us and the other members of the MCPP Contributing Fellows.”

“As Washington is evermore polarized and paralyzed, new ideas will have to come from the states,” Shapiro said. “MCPP and MJI have been developing policy solutions and legal arguments that benefit Mississippians’ daily lives. I look forward to helping with that great and necessary work.”

Shapiro is the co-author of Religious Liberties for Corporations? Hobby Lobby, the Affordable Care Act, and the Constitution (2014), and editor of 11 volumes of the Cato Supreme Court Review (2008-18). He has contributed to a variety of academic, popular, and professional publications, including the Wall Street JournalHarvard Journal of Law & Public PolicyWashington PostLos Angeles TimesUSA TodayNational Review, and New York Times Online, and he regularly provides commentary for various media outlets. Shapiro has also filed more than 300 “friend of the court” briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court.

You can read his full bio here.

As Chair of the MJI Advisory Board, Shapiro will work with MJI Director Aaron Rice to provide input and expertise on the selection and legal strategy for cases in which MJI defends constitutional rights.

“We are thrilled to have Ilya join as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Mississippi Justice Institute,” Rice said. “Ilya is nationally respected for his thoughtful and reasoned analysis of constitutional issues, and we are excited to bring his expertise to bear to defend the constitutional rights of Mississippians.”

Along with Shapiro, MCPP has assembled an outstanding and diverse cadre of Contributing Fellows. MCPP Contributing Fellows are a group of academic and private sector individuals who are dedicated to the ideas of personal, economic and religious liberty, limited government, and market-based policy solutions and contribute to these ideas through their research, teaching, speaking and writing.

The inaugural group of Contributing Fellows at MCPP includes:

Matt Allen, Counsel at Brunini Law Firm, and PhD student in Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Anja Baker, Community Relations Coordinator at the Center for Pregnancy Choices.

J. Brandon Bolen, Assistant Professor of Economics at Mississippi College.

Brandon Cline, the John “Nutie” and Edie Dowdle Associate Professor of Finance at Mississippi State University and Co-Director of the Institute for Market Studies.

Sterling Kidd, Shareholder at Baker Donelson.

Ed Tiryakian, Associate Professor of Corporate Finance and Business Economics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Claudia Williamson, Associate Professor of Economics and the Drew Allen Endowed Fellow at Mississippi State University and the Co-Director of the Institute for Market Studies.


MCPP is an independent, non-profit organization that works to advance the ideals of limited government, free markets, and strong families by influencing public policy, informing the media, and equipping the public with information and perspective to help them understand and defend their liberty.

MJI is the legal arm of MCPP, representing Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions.


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