Ross Abbott is a legal fellow at Speech First. He’s been fighting against campus speech regulations since he was in high school, when he challenged his school’s posting regulations on behalf of his Young Libertarians group. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina where he started and served as President of the school’s College Libertarians chapter. When his advocacy for free speech on campus led to an investigation from the school’s bias response team, Ross fought back as the lead plaintiff in the civil rights lawsuit Abbott v. Pastides. The case forced the school to repeal its unconstitutional “free speech zone” and restrictive speech codes.
During his time at Emory University School of Law, Ross served as a member of the Emory University Committee for Open Expression. In that role, he helped Emory earn a “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for its speech-friendly policies in 2018.
Ross has previously worked in civil rights advocacy at the Rutherford Institute and to start a drug treatment program in rural Indiana at Margaret Mary Health. He has recently passed the bar and will be sworn in as an attorney in South Carolina in November. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife Grace and three rescue dogs.