Jay Diaz comes to FIRE after 10 years practicing constitutional and civil rights law in Vermont. He first became interested in free speech principles in high school, after facing harassment from school officials for refusing to stand during the pledge of allegiance and having his art removed from a school display. That interest led him to law school and to eventually spending seven years litigating constitutional and civil rights cases with the ACLU of Vermont as a staff attorney and general counsel. Most of his litigation involved defending the free expression rights of people of all cultural and political stripes: from artists seeking to wear specially designed masks despite a statutory ban to gun-rights activists scrubbed from the Vermont governor’s social media pages, from Black men facing police retaliation for their speech to impoverished individuals punished for calling the police for help. 

In his time at the ACLU, Jay successfully brought three landmark Vermont Supreme Court cases, conducted numerous government accountability investigations leading to significant statutory and administrative reform, frequently advocated at the Vermont Legislature for protecting and expanding individual rights, and regularly appeared in Vermont print, radio, and television media, providing commentary on a range of civil liberties and civil rights topics. He is excited to be at FIRE where he can focus his litigation practice on the free speech principles that he has long held dear. 

Before joining FIRE and the ACLU of Vermont, Jay was a staff attorney with the Disability Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid, representing low-income Vermonters with disabilities through direct representation and legislative advocacy. He was also the 2012-2014 Vermont Poverty Law Fellow, working to ensure access, stability, and equity for low-income students across Vermont. Jay earned his law degree from Boston College Law School in 2012 after graduating from New York University in 2006 with a degree in political science.

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