Joshua Matz is a partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, resident in the DC office.
Joshua’s practice includes complex commercial disputes, constitutional and civil rights law, and Supreme Court and appellate litigation. He litigates a wide array of commercial cases, ranging from contract, fraud and misappropriation disputes to consumer protection and sex discrimination matters. He advises individuals, non-profits and companies on their response to congressional and state attorney general inquiries, participates in sensitive internal investigations and supports clients seeking to navigate complex legal questions. Along with several of his colleagues at Kaplan Hecker, Joshua has represented Brown University and Columbia University in Title IX litigation.
Joshua is also an experienced defamation litigator. He currently represents E. Jean Carroll in a case against Donald J. Trump for defamatory statements that Trump made in response to Ms. Carroll’s public revelation that he had sexually assaulted her. Joshua previously represented Liz Mair in successfully defending against two defamation suits filed by Rep. Devin Nunes concerning her political criticism. And in September 2020, he successfully represented Stanford Medical School faculty who were threatened with a defamation suit for scientific criticism of policies advocated by former White House Coronavirus Advisor Dr. Scott Atlas.
In addition, Joshua maintains a substantial civil rights and constitutional practice. He has developed particular expertise in election law and redistricting, LGBTQ rights, religious liberty and freedom of speech, though his representations have also addressed privacy rights, due process, racial justice, firearm regulation, the right to counsel and the separation of powers. In his constitutional matters, Joshua has represented individual clients, civil rights organizations, non-profits, companies, current and former government officials, cities, states and congressional committees. While many of these representations have involved litigation, Joshua also provides practical counsel to clients seeking to understand and strategize their options.
Joshua’s list of current and recent representations in this field include:
- The Governors of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in successfully defending their states’ congressional districting maps against challenges at the U.S. Supreme Court
- Two New York State legislators in a lawsuit against the NYPD for police misconduct during the May 2020 Black Lives Matter protests
- Students, parents and teachers in challenging Florida H.B. 1557 (the “Don’t Say Gay” law)
- A non-profit group in securing dismissal of a challenge to the conduct of the 2020 election—and subsequently in obtaining sanctions against the lawyers who filed it
- Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky in successfully defending the constitutionality of his COVID-19 public health orders at the U.S. Supreme Court
- The Federal Defenders of New York in a statutory and constitutional challenge to attorney access policies at the Metropolitan Detention Center
- The SEIU in successfully opposing a petition for certiorari seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of a state access to information law
- Victims of consumer fraud in a federal class action lawsuit against Donald J. Trump, his adult children and the Trump Organization
- The House Judiciary Committee in litigation seeking to compel testimony by former White House Counsel Don McGahn
- The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in successfully defending its certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election at the U.S. Supreme Court
- The City of Philadelphia in Fulton v. Philadelphia—a U.S. Supreme Court merits case involving a First Amendment challenge to the City’s contractual non-discrimination requirements for foster care providers.
Joshua has also filed amicus briefs on behalf of legal scholars, civil rights organizations, public officials, and medical experts. These briefs have addressed issues, including:
- The denial of service to same-sex couples based on religious objections
- The legality of public health measures issued amid the pandemic
- The history of self-defense law and its implications for firearms regulation
- The availability of compassionate release in light of the First Step Act
- The scope of Speech or Debate Clause immunity to a grand jury subpoena
- Judicial power to release ICE detainees facing a substantial risk of harm
- The application of Title VII to anti-LGBT discrimination
- The addition of a citizenship question to the census
- The exclusion of transgender persons from the military
- The lawfulness of election administration grant programs.
Alongside his litigation experience, Joshua has written for diverse audiences about legal issues. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Harvard Law Review Forum, The University of Chicago Law Review, he Fordham Law Review, The Daily Journal, The Guardian, The Atlantic and Wired, and he has been invited to speak at Harvard Law School, the 92nd Street Y, the ABA LGBT+ Forum, the National Constitution Center and Politics & Prose.
In March 2012, Joshua and Larry Tribe of Harvard Law School published “The Constitutional Inevitability of Same-Sex Marriage,” 71 Md. L. Rev. 471 (2012). In June 2014, they published an award-winning book, Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution (Henry Holt). And in May 2018, they published their second book together, To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment (Basic Books). The Economist proclaimed this book “the definitive treatment of a vital subject.”
From October 2019 through February 2020, Joshua took leave from the firm to serve as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee for the first impeachment and trial of President Trump. Following the events of January 6, 2021, Joshua again took leave to serve as Impeachment Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee for the second Senate trial of President Trump.
Beyond his work at the firm, Joshua also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law School, where he co-teaches “Constitutional Litigation and the Executive Branch.” Additionally, Joshua serves on the Board of Directors for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the American Constitution Society (ACS).
Joshua has received widespread acclaim for his work. In 2021, he was recognized by The American Lawyer as a “Young Lawyer of the Year”; more recently, Law360 named him an “Appellate Rising Star” and Business Insider described him as a “Rising Star of the Courtroom.” He was also named to Washingtonian Magazine’s List of Most Influential People in Washington in both 2021 and 2022. In January 2021, Joshua was commissioned by Governor Andy Beshear as a Kentucky Colonel for successfully defending the Governor’s COVID-19 public health measures at the Supreme Court. In 2014, Forbes named Joshua to its “30 under 30” Law & Policy List and in 2016 it named him an “Alumni All-Star” of past honorees.
Joshua received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania; his MSt, with distinction, from Oxford University; and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. While in law school, Joshua interned at the Public Citizen Litigation Group and the Federal Defenders of New York. He also served as Articles & Book Reviews Chair of the Harvard Law Review. Following law school, Joshua clerked for the Hon. J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York, the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court.