James Bopp

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James Bopp, Jr.
Nationality United States
Education Juris Doctor
Alma mater University of Florida
Occupation Attorney
Years active 1973 to Present
Organization The Bopp Law Firm
Known for Advocating before the Supreme Court of the United States
Notable work Citizens United v. FEC
Home town Terre Haute, Indiana
Board member of Republican National Committee, Republicans Overseas
Awards The National Law Journal, The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America; Republican National Lawyers Association, Republican Lawyer of the Year 2009
Website The Bopp Law Firm

James Bopp, Jr. is a distinguished conservative attorney and constitutional scholar.[1] He has been designated as one of the most influential lawyers in the United States of America,[2][3] and is renowned with regards to election laws and campaign finance.[4] He and his firm specialize in First Amendment and Constitutional law, strategic planning, campaign finance, election law, and representation before the U.S. Supreme Court.[5] Bopp also served as a representative to the Republican National Committee (RNC) from 2006, and RNC Vice Chairman from 2008,[6] until 2012 when he lost a bid for re-election in Indiana.[7] He has served on the Board of Governors for the Republican National Lawyers Association since 2002. Bopp is also on the board, and serves as general counsel, for Republicans Overseas.


Bopp is a native of Terre Haute, Indiana, and holds a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and a law degree from the University of Florida. He has served as the general counsel for National Right to Life since 1978, the James Madison Center for Free Speech since 1997, and as the special counsel for Focus on the Family since 2004.[8] Bopp was the editor of Restoring the Right to Life: The Human Life Amendment.[9] With regards to Human Life Amendment, based on his analysis of the Supreme Court composition, Bopp stated in 2007,

"...now is not the time to pass state constitutional amendments or bills banning abortion because (1) such provisions will be quickly struck down by a federal district court, (2) that decision will be affirmed by an appellate court, (3) the Supreme Court will not grant review of the decision, and (4) the pro-abortion attorneys who brought the legal challenge will collect statutory attorneys fees from the state that enacted the provision in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”[10]

Bopp became one of Indiana's representatives to the RNC in 2006,[7] and RNC Vice Chairman in 2008.[6] In 2009, he was the lead sponsor of an RNC resolution that initially called on the Democratic Party to change its name to Democratic Socialist Party, however was compromised and passed instead as a condemnation of President Barack Obama and the then Democrat Congressional majority for leading the United States in the direction of socialism.[11]

During a 2010 RNC meeting, he was the chief sponsor of a resolution covering financial support of candidates.[12] The resolution, titled "Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates", names ten public policy positions that are important to the RNC. The proposed resolution stipulated that public officials and candidates who disagree on three or more of the ten positions would be ineligible for financial support or endorsement from the RNC.[13]

Governor Mitt Romney received Bopp's endorsement for president during the 2012 presidential election.

According to the Campaign Legal Center, Bopp filed 21 of the 31 lawsuits it associated with challenging campaign finance regulations. All told, Bopp has spent 30 years fighting limits on campaign spending and is credited with changing the political landscape of the 2012 election. According to the Center for Responsive Politics. “It’s safe to say that groups on the left and right have Jim Bopp to thank for their new-found freedom.”[14] In an interview with PBS' Frontline in 2012, Bopp said he was defending a "basically absolute" interpretation of the right to political free speech under the First Amendment. As such, he said he is working to eliminate or significantly loosen campaign spending limits and to eliminate donor-name-reporting requirements.[15]

A study conducted in 2014 showed that Bopp was one of a comparatively small number of lawyers most likely to have their cases heard by the Supreme Court. Out of 17,000 attorneys that petitioned the Supreme Court, throughout nearly a decade, only 66 succeeded.[16] Bopp is one that did so on multiple occasions.

Bopp is currently engaged in a legal battle against the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). A law passed by the then Democrat controlled Congress, passed without a single House Republican vote,[17] 11 Senate Republican votes, and signed into law by President Barack Obama. The lawsuit, Crawford v. U.S. Department of Treasury, was filed with eight counts of constitutional violations on July 14, 2015.[18] There are currently ten plaintiffs, including 2016 presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul.[18][19] FATCA is viewed by many as an unconstitutional mandate that violates privacy rights of U.S. citizens while burdening both private individuals and the financial institutions they patronize.[20] Additionally, it is widely viewed that this law transforms foreign banks into proxy agents for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)[21] as it requires all foreign banks to submit regular reports on U.S. account holders to the IRS,[22] regardless of how little they have. Consequently, international institutions are denying service to American citizens all together.[23][24][25][26][27] These factors are causing an exponential growth in renunciation of U.S. citizenship.[28][29][30] On this case, Bopp stated in July 2015,

"It also speaks volumes about [the] Obama administration's lawlessness and disregard for the constitution when we have eight constitutional claims against FATCA/IGAs/FBAR in comparison to the Citizens United v. FEC case, where I had only one constitutional claim."[31]

Notable Cases and Litigation[edit]

McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission[edit]

Bopp's successful representation in this landmark case, against section 441 of the Federal Election Campaign Act, resulted in the court striking down the two year cycle limit to the amount of which a constituent can donate to candidates running at the federal level.[32]

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus[edit]

In 2011, Bopp successfully defended the Susan B. Anthony List against a defamation lawsuit by Steve Driehaus, a former congressman who says that the SBA List made false statements regarding taxpayer funding of abortion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to "deprive [him of his] livelihood".[33] The court ruled "We do not want the government deciding what is political truth — for fear that the government might persecute those who criticize it. Instead, in a democracy, the voters should decide."[34]

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission[edit]

Bopp represented Citizens United, ultimately leading to a landmark victory in the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. FEC decision.[35]

Wisconsin Judicial Commission v. Gableman[edit]

In 2010, Bopp successfully represented Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in a case alleging he broke the Wisconsin Judicial Code of Conduct during his successful run for the state supreme court.[36] The case was presented before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and resulted in a 3-3 deadlock decision.[37]

ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen[edit]

Bopp also represented ProtectMarriage.com in a lawsuit challenging the finance limit required for reporting campaign donations and the open way in which information on such donations is shared in California.[38] This lawsuit was filed as result of California Proposition 8 supporters being harassed after their identities were revealed through government mandates.[39]

Kurita v. Tennessee Democratic Party[edit]

In 2008 Bopp represented former State Senator Rosalind Kurita, a Democrat, in her suit against the Tennessee Democratic Party for removing her as the Democratic nominee in her State Senate district after she had won the primary.[40]

Other Notable Cases[edit]

Notable Clients[edit]

Obtained from Bopp's online profile.[8]


Bopp's advocacy for certain causes has incited opposing critics to label him, by one blog, as "Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections"[41] and, by another blog, "constitutional terror of Terre Haute".[42] Reaction is coming mostly in connection with the Citizens United v. FEC case that many see opened up unrestricted campaign donations that can affect elections of candidates and votes on special interest resolutions, such as bans on gay-marriage. Bopp's response to the attention received during the 2012 election cycle was "that members of Congress will realize they have cut their own throats."[43]

In response to criticism for his plan to establish a potentially illegal "Republican Super PAC", Bopp said, “The Supreme Court doesn’t care, and I don’t care, and the Federal Election Commission doesn’t care ..... No one that matters cares.”[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Conservative Leader James Bopp, Jr. Endorses Mitt Romney". The American Presidency Project. University of California, Santa Barbara. February 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America". The National Law Journal. March 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "James Bopp Named One of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America". The Bopp Law Firm. The National Law Journal. 
  4. ^ Carter, Terry (November 26, 2006). "The Big Bopper". American Bar Association Journal (ABA Journal and the American Bar Association). 
  5. ^ "The Bopp Law Firm". The Bopp Law Firm. 
  6. ^ a b "NRLC General Counsel James Bopp Named Republican Lawyer of the Year". National Right to Life. September, 2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ a b "Behind Closed Doors: Hammond replaces Bopp on RNC". Gannett. June 9, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  8. ^ a b "James Bopp, Jr.". The Bopp Law Firm. 
  9. ^ Bopp, James (1984). Restoring the Right to Life: The Human Life Amendment. Brigham Young University Press. ISBN 0842521003. 
  10. ^ Becker, Daniel (2011). Personhood: A Pragmatic Guide to Prolife Victory in the 21st Century and the Return to First Principles in Politics. TKS Publications. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0983190305. 
  11. ^ Hallow, Ralph (May 21, 2009). "GOP condemns ‘socialist’ Obama, Democrats". The Washington Times. The Washington Times, LLC. 
  12. ^ "Proposed RNC Resolution on Reagan's Unity Principle for Support of Candidates" (pdf). Republican National Committee. via MSN. 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  13. ^ Wallsten, Peter (November 24, 2009). "Some Conservatives Push a 'Purity Test' for GOP Candidates". The Wall Street Journal. 
  14. ^ Election Spending to Exceed $6 Billion Thanks Partly to Jim Bopp, Bloomberg, By Jonathan D. Salant, Sep 21, 2011
  15. ^ "James Bopp: What Citizens United Means for Campaign Finance", Frontline on PBS, October 30, 2012 (edited transcript of interview conducted July 27, 2012); interview used in part in "Big Sky, Big Money" documentary, correspondent Kai Ryssdal, broadcast October 30, 2012. Primary focus of documentary: Montana campaign finance law and politics. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  16. ^ Biskupic, Joan; Roberts, Janet; Shiffman, John (December 8, 2014). "At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. 
  17. ^ "House Vote #991 in 2009". govtrack.us. GovTrack. December 16, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "Crawford et al v. United States Department of the Treasury et al". Justia Dockets & Filings. Justia. July 14, 2015. 
  19. ^ Goulder, Robert (September 16, 2015). "Litigating FATCA: Rand Paul And Financial Privacy". Forbes/Taxes. Forbes. 
  20. ^ Voreacos, David (July 14, 2015). "Rand Paul Sues IRS Over Foreign Account Taxes, Disclosures". Bloomberg Business. Bloomberg L.P. 
  21. ^ Harner, Stephen (June 9, 2014). "Letter From Phnom Penh (3): FATCA Turning Local Banks Into IRS Enforcers". Forbes Asia. Forbes. 
  22. ^ Liddle, Dustin (October 30, 2015). "FATCA Reporting Has Arrived". Tax Law. Hawley Troxell Attorneys and Counselors. 
  23. ^ Hinchberger, Bill (September 27, 2012). "European banks shut Americans out over U.S. tax rules". USA Today Money. USA Today. 
  24. ^ Bachmann, Helena (December 20, 2013). "Swiss Banks Tell American Expats to Empty Their Accounts". Time. Time Inc. 
  25. ^ Henning, Eyk (May 2, 2014). "Deutsche Bank Asks U.S. Clients in Belgium to Close Accounts". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 
  26. ^ Trimble, Cal (June 7, 2014). "How Will FATCA Affect US Citizens Living In Mexico?". SanDiegoRed.com. San Diego Red. 
  27. ^ Hobson, Peter (June 5, 2014). "Russia's No. 2 Bank VTB to Stop Servicing Russia-Based U.S. Clients". The Moscow Times. 
  28. ^ Bauman, Bob (March 20, 2014). "Expatriation Soars on Approach of FATCA Deadline". The Sovereign Investor Daily. 
  29. ^ Pleven, Liam (June 16, 2014). "Expatriate Americans Break Up With Uncle Sam to Escape Tax Rules". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 
  30. ^ Srinivas, Siri (September 24, 2014). "'I was terrified we'd lose all our money': banks tell US customers they won't work with Americans". U.S. Personal Finance. The Guardian. 
  31. ^ Davis, William; Velarde, Andrew (July 15, 2015). "Sen. Paul Files Lawsuit Challenging FATCA". Tax Analysts. 
  32. ^ "McCutcheon, et al. v. FEC Case Summary". Federal Election Commission. April 2, 2014. 
  33. ^ Judge: Reform doesn't fund abortion
  34. ^ Johnson, Dennis (2015). Political Consultants and American Elections: Hired to Fight, Hired to Win. Routledge. ISBN 1138786365. 
  35. ^ "A Quest to End Spending Rules for Campaigns", New York Times, 2010/01/25.
  36. ^ Wisconsin Law blog entry
  37. ^ Stein, Jason (July 1, 2010). "State Supreme Court deadlocks on Gableman's ethics case". Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Journal Sentinel. 
  38. ^ Perryman, Rianna (May 20, 2014). "ProtectMarriage.com v. Bowen". Willamette University College of Law. Willamette University. 
  39. ^ "Prop 8 Supporters File Suit After Threats". Associated Press. January 10, 2009. 
  40. ^ Whitehouse, Ken (October 1, 2008). "Kurita vs. Dems showdown set". Nashville Post. SouthComm Inc. 
  41. ^ Money & Democracy Update: James Bopp Jr. is Public enemy No. 1 for fair elections, Citizen Vox, By Angela Bradbery, October 14, 2011
  42. ^ Bopping around in the state of Kansas, Daily Kos, By Karen Hedwig Backman, Aug 28, 2010
  43. ^ The Daily Beast, February 1, 2012
  44. ^ Is New Republican ‘Super PAC’ Legal?, TPM Muckracker, By Ryan J. Reilly, May 18, 2011

External links[edit]