Jay C. Johnson

Partner
Johnson Jay

Jay C. Johnson serves clients in a variety of infrastructure and natural resource contexts, guiding them past regulatory and environmental review obstacles to win agency approvals, then defending those approvals in court. Jay focuses on projects that raise complex issues, attracting scrutiny from both regulators and third-party groups. His recent representations include mining, rail and surface transportation, and port projects.

Jay has experience with a variety of state and federal environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and their state analogues. He has also helped his clients win approvals under the numerous substantive federal statutes employed by federal agencies like the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

To defend his clients' permits and approvals, Jay has briefed and argued numerous cases in trial and appellate courts around the country. He frequently coordinates with counsel for the agencies that issue his clients' permits and approvals, to ensure the most effective defense of their decisions. At the same time, he advocates for his clients' interests in court, making arguments that government attorneys may be unable or unwilling to make.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • Briefed and argued two cases before the Minnesota Supreme Court and five cases in the Minnesota Court of Appeals on behalf of the state’s first copper-nickel mine
  • Briefed novel Clean Water Act downstream water quality issues before the U.S. EPA
  • Represented clients in a NEPA environmental review of a major rail merger proceeding before the Surface Transportation Board
  • Represented a client in federal trial and appellate court in a Commerce Clause challenge to state agency permit denials
  • Briefed and argued a petition for review of the Surface Transportation Board’s approval of a rail line extension in federal appellate court
  • Briefed statutory custody and domestic violence issues on behalf of a pro bono client in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals
  • Filed briefs before the Surface Transportation Board arguing for board jurisdiction over a high-speed passenger rail line under the ICC Termination Act
  • Represented a client in federal trial and appellate court defending U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Clean Water Act permits for a freight rail line extension

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. University of Virginia School of Law 2001
    • Member, Virginia Law Review
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A. summa cum laude Vanderbilt University 1998

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable David A. Nelson U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Association of Transportation Law Professionals
  • Member, Virginia Bar Association
    • Appellate Practice Section
    • Administrative Law Section

Recognition
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  • Super Lawyers, Washington, DC, 2014 – 2016
  • Pro Bono Team of the Year Award, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), 2021 

Community
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Pro Bono

  • Member, Board of Directors, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP)