Damien Schiff

Senior Staff Attorney, National Litigation Center, Pacific Legal Foundation

As a senior staff attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), Mr. Schiff has worked in a number of cases pertaining to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Mr. Schiff was lead attorney in PLF’s successful legal challenge to force the government to make good on its promise to remove the bald eagle from the list of threatened species under the ESA, a promise that was five years overdue. He was also lead attorney in PLF’s challenge to the listing of the California tiger salamander, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Hatchery Listing Policy, and the critical habitat designation of 15 vernal pool species in California and Oregon, among other cases.

Mr. Schiff has also been involved in a number of CWA cases concerning jurisdiction and judicial review. He was lead attorney in Great Northwest, Inc. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, PLF’s successful challenge to the Corps’s assertion of CWA jurisdiction over wetlands in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was also lead attorney in Barnum Timber Co. v. Environmental Protection Agency, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that landowners have a right to challenge environmental regulations that reduce their property values. Currently, he is lead attorney in Sackett v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, which concerns whether CWA compliance orders can ever be judicially reviewable; and Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, which concerns EPA’s CWA veto of an important flood control project in the South Mississippi Delta.

Mr. Schiff has on television and radio programs and in newspapers throughout the country.  He has appeared on National Public Radio and the Lehrer News Hour.  He also has appeared on the Andy Caldwell, Inga Barks, Larry Elder, and Bill Wattenberg radio programs.  He has been quoted in theChristian Science MonitorEconomistNew York TimesSacramento BeeSt. Louis Post-Dispatch,San Diego Union-TribuneSan Francisco ChronicleSeattle TimesWashington Post, andWashington Times, among other publications.

Mr. Schiff’s legal writing includes Rollin’, Rollin’ Rollin’ on the River: A Story of Drought, Treaty Interpretation, and Other Rio Grande Problems, published in volume 14 of the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review, Samaritans: Good, Bad, and Ugly: A Comparative Law Analysis, published in volume 11 of the Roger Williams University Law Review, Purposivism and the “Reasonable Legislator”: A Review Essay of Justice Stephen Breyer’s Active Liberty, published in volume 33 of the William Mitchell Law Review, Nothing New Under the Sun: The Minimalism of Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court’s Recent Environmental Law Jurisprudence, published in volume 15 of the Missouri Environmental Law and Policy Review, and The Distinct Population Segment Provision of the Endangered Species Act and the Lack Thereof in the California Endangered Species Act, published in volume 30 of the Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law (co-authored with Joshua P. Thompson).


Mr. Schiff obtained his law degree magna cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University.  He is a former law clerk to the Honorable Victor J. Wolski, United States Court of Federal Claims. 

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Publications and Multimedia
The Reach of Agency Authority: Sackett v. EPA - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
November 14, 2012
Sackett v. EPA: When May a Landowner Take the EPA to Court? - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
February 23, 2012
State Attorneys General Win Fight to Enforce Roadless Rule
State AG Tracker, Vol. 1, No. 5, 2009
September 01, 2009
The Rapanos Decision
January 15, 2007
Rapanos V. United States
October 01, 2006