Michael Francisco

Michael Francisco

Michael Francisco is a proven public and commercial litigator with extensive appellate experience who often serves as a strategic advisor to clients facing acute legal challenges. He has represented clients nationally for public impact litigation, bet-the-company lawsuits, and in defense of constitutional rights. Michael served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and Judge Timothy Tymkovich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Michael regularly takes on challenging matters where citizens must rely on the judiciary to vindicate their rights. His experience runs the gambit from successfully seeking injunctive relief, winning critical legal motions, defending judgments on appeal, overturning multi-million-dollar judgments, and obtaining discretionary high court review. He relishes the opportunity to develop a well-crafted legal strategy to solve the most novel and complex problems that may arise. 

Michael has deep experience with political litigation representing candidates, voters, political parties, and advocacy organizations for ballot access, election administration, campaign finance, and for the unfortunate trend of criminalization of political activity. 

After deciding to pursue a legal career to defend religious liberty, Michael has regularly engaged in constitutional litigation under the religion clauses and the free speech clause. He has been involved in many recent U.S. Supreme Court cases involving these core freedoms, including Groff v. DeJoy, 303 Creative v. Elenis, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, and similar cases in lower courts on topics ranging from the ministerial exception, church property disputes, to religious land use disputes. 

As an appellate advocate Michael frequently handles matters before the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and Colorado appellate courts. He has argued four times before the Colorado Supreme Court and briefed 19 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Michael also frequently advises clients on strategic public matters challenging federal government authority and overreach. He has regularly litigated business disputes, employment matters, as well as represented clients before state and federal administrative agencies or arbitration panels. 

Prior to joining First & Fourteenth, Michael was a partner at McGuireWoods, LLP in Washington D.C., representing litigation, white collar, and government investigation clients.

At home Michael is married with four children and he enjoys many outdoor activities, ranging from competitive shooting to fixing his jeep. 

Representative Matters

State of Georgia v. Mark R. Meadows (N.D. Ga.), aff’d No. 23-12958 (11th Cir. 2023). Defended former Chief of Staff to the President from state criminal charges by seeking federal officer removal on the basis of supremacy clause immunity. 

Meadows v. Pelosi, (D.D.C. 2022). Represented former Chief of Staff to the President, Mark Meadows, in seeking to challenge a congressional subpoena. The case challenged congressional authority to issue a subpoena and raised constitutional immunity and privilege defenses. Ultimately, Mr. Meadows was not compelled to testify. 

Georgia Republican Party v. Raffensperger, No. 20-cv-5018 (N.D. Ga. 2020). Represented two Republican Senate candidates in Georgia in pre-election effort to improve election integrity though improved signature verification procedures. 

Cooke v. Markwell, No. 19-cv-30973 (Colo. Dist. Ct., Denver Cnty., 2019). Obtained temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against Colorado Senate to enforce Colorado Constitution’s requirement that bills to be read slowly and, at full length, as required by Colorado Constitution. 

Kuhn v. Williams, 2018 CO 176 (Colo. 2018). Successfully sued to remove a sitting congressman from the primary ballot for violating petition requirements. After the Colorado Supreme Court removed the candidate from the ballot, the federal district court struck down Colorado’s petition circulator residency requirement. 

Gessler v. Smith, 2018 CO 48 (Colo. 2018). Briefed and argued state ethics case on behalf of former Colorado Secretary of State. 

Hill v. Williams, No. 16-cv-2627 (D. Colo. 2016). On the eve of a presidential election, successfully sought a preliminary injunction on constitutional grounds to permit voters to take and post ballot “selfies” before election day. 

Auraria Student Housing v. Campus Village Apartments, No. 15-1352 (10th Cir. 2016). Obtained reversal of nine-million dollar antitrust verdict based on student-housing arrangement.

Thompson Education Association v. Thompson School District RJ-2, No. 2015CA1608 (Colo. App. 2016). Represented a school district in opposing and then overturning a preliminary injunction to impose a collective bargaining agreement on the school district.


J.D., Cornell Law School, cum laude
B.A., Hillsdale College, cum laude


Law Clerk, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, U.S. Supreme Court
Law Clerk, Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Bar and Court Admissions

Washington, D.C.
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

Professional and Community Involvement 
  • Alliance Defending Freedom, Blackstone Fellow and Allied Attorney 
  • Federalist Society, Executive Committee Member of the Litigation Practice Group
  • Summit Ministries, Former Board Member
Activities and Honors
  • Best Brief Award, National Association of Attorneys General
  • Louis Kaiser Best Brief Award (2007 Winter Cup Moot Court), Cornell Law School
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement in Law, Hillsdale College 
  • Everett Prize in Oratory (2003 1st Place, 2002 Finalist, 2001 3rd Place), Hillsdale College

Host, Federalist Society, A Seat at the Sitting (March 2024) 

Author, Corporate Campaign Contributions vs. Independent Expenditures: 6th Circuit Explains the Difference Subject to Inquiry (September 29, 2021)

Speaker, National Press Club, Marijuana and the States: How Should Federalism Principles Inform the Federal Government’s Response to State Marijuana Initiatives? (December 2013)

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