Headshot of Chessie Thacher

Chessie Thacher (she/her)

Senior Staff Attorney, Democracy & Civic Engagement Program

Chessie Thacher is a Senior Staff Attorney for the Democracy & Civic Engagement program at the ACLU of Northern California, where she devotes her time to First Amendment issues, government transparency, criminal justice reforms, and voting rights litigation.   

Chessie has secured wins in Martinez v. City of Fresno, where she brought a First Amendment challenge against an ordinance that unlawfully restricted access to homeless encampment sweeps; City of Sacramento v. Henry, in which the court granted an anti-SLAPP Motion and denied the government's application for a restraining order sought in retaliation for protected speech; and City & County of San Francisco v. Padilla-Martel, where she fought the government's unconstitutional attempt to permanently exclude individuals from 50-square blocks in the center of San Francisco. Chessie has extensive experience litigating violations of the California Public Records Act and is especially dedicated to ensuring that government agencies produce records necessary to implement California's ground-breaking Racial Justice Act.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Chessie worked as an attorney at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP, a San Francisco-based law firm that focuses on high-stakes litigation and trials. There, Chessie represented individuals and businesses in a range of complex civil cases and class action lawsuits, regularly arguing cases in both federal and state court. While at the firm, Chessie developed a dynamic pro bono practice, partnering with the ACLU on several amicus briefs that advocated for criminal justice and immigration-related reforms. In particular, Chessie was a member of the ACLU's litigation team in Al-Mowafak et al. v. Trump et al., which challenged Trump's original executive order banning refugees and nationals of majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

A graduate of Stanford Law School, Chessie won the school’s Deborah L. Rhode Public Interest award and was a Levin Center Public Interest Fellow. She then clerked for the Hon. Sidney R. Thomas on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Hon. Robert P. Patterson, Jr. at the District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Prior to law school, Chessie worked as a project manager in Yellowstone National Park and as a Henry Luce Scholar in southwestern China. Chessie earned a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College with a major in biology and a minor in environmental policy.