Joshua Prince, commonly known as Josh Prince, is an attorney and Republican politician from Pennsylvania. He garnered attention in recent years for his unsuccessful campaigns for judge positions in the state’s Commonwealth Court. While ultimately unsuccessful in his political ambitions, Prince’s career provides insights into modern Pennsylvania politics and the judicial election process.
Early Life and Education
Birth and Upbringing
Joshua Prince was born in Pennsylvania in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Details about his early life and upbringing have not been made publicly available.
Prince attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for his undergraduate education. He graduated from McGill in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree.
After McGill, Prince studied law at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Widener in 2009.
Areas of Law
After passing the bar exam, Joshua Prince began practicing law in 2009 at the firm Joshua Prince, Esq. He founded and operates this solo legal practice based in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.
Prince specializes in several key areas of law including firearms law, constitutional law, [H2]FOIA Requests, and election law. He represents clients on gun rights issues and fights against what he sees as unconstitutional firearms legislation. Prince has developed a reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s top lawyers regarding gun laws.
Over his career, Prince has taken on high-profile constitutional and gun rights cases. Some of his more notable legal battles include:
- PUF v. Pennsylvania – Prince represented the gun rights group Firearm Owners Against Crime in a lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s state police over delays in gun purchase background checks. Prince argued the delays violated state law. The Commonwealth Court ruled partially in his favor in 2015.
- Dake v. City of Philadelphia – In this case, Prince represented Colosimo’s Gun Center and four individuals challenging a Philadelphia ban on assault weapons. A settlement was reached in 2014 overturning parts of the ban.
- FOAC v. Lower Merion Township – Prince represented Firearm Owners Against Crime (FOAC) in a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania township over its gun discharge ordinance. The Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of Prince’s argument that the ordinance was preempted by state law.
Through cases like these and others, Prince earned a reputation as a staunch advocate for gun rights and an expert in challenging legislation regulating firearms.
Early Political Activity
Joshua Prince’s passion for gun rights led him to becoming politically active as well. He served as a national committee member representing Pennsylvania for the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Prince also gained experience in election law by representing state and national political candidates. These activities whetted his appetite for running for office himself.
Running for Judge
In 2021, Prince set his sights on becoming a judge on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. This court handles cases relating to state regulatory agencies and local government disputes.
Prince ran in the 2021 election but did not win his race. He tried again in 2023, motivated by his interest in Constitutional law issues that often come before the Commonwealth Court.
The 2023 Campaign
In 2023, Joshua Prince made his second bid for a seat on Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court. He sought the Republican nomination to run in the November general election.
Prince faced Megan Martin in the Republican primary on May 16, 2023. His campaign messaging emphasized his expertise in Constitutional law and fighting back against federal overreach. However, Martin defeated Prince, winning 63% of the primary vote.
With his primary defeat, Prince’s political ambitions were stalled yet again. Martin went on to win the Republican nomination and will face Democrat Matt Wolf in November’s general election.
Political Views and Campaign Platform
During his campaigns, Joshua Prince ran on a staunchly conservative platform that aligned with traditional Republican positions. Some of his views on major issues included:
- Gun Rights – Prince’s chief passion was defending the 2nd Amendment against all forms of gun control legislation which he saw as unconstitutional.
- Limited Government – He supported strictly limiting federal power and defended states’ rights against federal overreach.
- Abortion – Prince took a pro-life stance and supported restricting or banning abortion access.
- Election Integrity – He echoed former President Trump’s claims of voter fraud and supported stricter voting laws.
Joshua Prince’s campaign slogans and messaging aligned with his conservative views and legal background. Some of his key messages were:
- “Protecting Your Constitutional Freedoms”
- “Standing Up for Gun Rights”
- “Fighting Federal Government Overreach”
- “The Only Candidate Who Understands the Constitution”
- “A Judge Pennsylvania Gun Owners Can Trust”
Prince attempted to tap into pro-gun and anti-establishment sentiments among Republican voters with these campaign messages.
Election Results and Aftermath
Joshua Prince failed to win his party’s nomination in his two attempts to run for Commonwealth Court judge. In the May 2023 Republican primary, he lost decisively to Megan Martin.
Martin’s campaign criticized Prince as an activist more interested in politics than fair judging. She won 63% of the primary vote compared to Prince’s 37%.
General Election Preview
With Prince’s primary defeat, Megan Martin went on to win the Republican nomination for Commonwealth Court. She will face Democratic candidate Matt Wolf in the November 7th general election.
Most projections predict a close race between Martin and Wolf for the open judicial seat on the important state court.
Responding to Defeat
After losing in the 2023 primary, Joshua Prince did not immediately indicate if he would run again in the future. However, he did not initially concede the race and waited nearly a week before acknowledging the voters’ decision.
In a statement, Prince thanked his supporters and said the fight for liberty would continue. He did not directly address his future political plans.
Controversies and Criticisms
Joshua Prince’s no-holds-barred legal style earned him criticism as well as praise. He faced allegations of unethical behavior and lawsuits from adversaries.
In one high-profile case, a federal judge sanctioned Prince in 2021 for “vexatious and obstructive conduct” related to a lawsuit against the City of Harrisburg. Prince was fined $10,000 for abusing litigation procedures in the case.
Prince also sued a former client in 2020 for posting negative online reviews. Critics saw this as an intimidation tactic, but Prince defended the lawsuit as legitimate.
Views Seen as Extreme
Prince’s political foes tried to portray him as a right-wing extremist, especially on gun issues. For instance, his Democratic opponent Bryan Neft criticized Prince’s confrontational legal tactics.
Some moderates and liberals viewed his uncompromising stances as outside the mainstream. On firearms issues especially, he advocated positions that seemed absolutist to critics.
Family and Other Interests
Joshua Prince resides in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania with his wife and children. He has not publicly discussed his family and personal life.
Outside of law and politics, Prince is believed to enjoy firearms recreation like hunting and sport shooting. He is a member of several gun rights and hunting organizations beyond just the NRA.
Prince also appears to enjoy the outdoors through fishing, hiking, and related activities. But not much is known about his hobbies and personal pursuits.
Legacy and Impact
Legal Career Legacy
Through his legal career, Joshua Prince made himself one of Pennsylvania’s most prominent firearms and constitutional rights attorneys. He takes an aggressive posture towards defending gun rights and challenging legislation restricting access to guns.
While a controversial figure, he enjoys ongoing support among pro-gun circles for his bold approach. His legal battles set precedents clarifying the boundaries of firearm laws in Pennsylvania.
Influence on PA Politics
Joshua Prince’s political campaigns gained significant attention despite ultimately falling short. He represents an uncompromisingly conservative wing of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party.
While not victorious, Prince impacted political conversations by highlighting issues like gun rights and federal authority over states. His influence encouraged other Republicans to take strong stances on these topics.
Joshua Prince sought elected office based on his reputation as a staunch conservative lawyer and gun rights advocate. His bold approaches appealed to some Pennsylvania Republican voters. But concerns about Prince’s partisan style likely contributed to his primary election defeat in 2023.
Looking ahead, it remains unclear if Prince will revive his political ambitions. However, he will likely continue advocating his vision of constitutional liberties in and out of the courtroom. Regardless of one’s political leanings, Joshua Prince’s career reminds us that protecting rights enshrined in the Constitution remains an ongoing American project.
What is Joshua Prince best known for?
Joshua Prince is best known as a lawyer specializing in gun rights and constitutional law cases. He is one of Pennsylvania’s top 2nd Amendment attorneys and has handled prominent legal battles over firearm legislation.
What political offices has Joshua Prince run for?
In 2021 and 2023, Joshua Prince ran for judge on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania as a Republican. However, he lost in the Republican primary both times and has not yet won an election for public office.
What controversies has Joshua Prince been involved in?
Critics have accused Joshua Prince of overly aggressive and unethical litigation tactics. He was sanctioned by a judge in one case and sued a client for negative reviews in another controversial incident.
How did Joshua Prince perform in the 2023 election?
Joshua Prince lost the 2023 Republican primary for Commonwealth Court judge, winning only 37% of the vote against opponent Megan Martin. His primary defeat ended Prince’s campaign for the open judicial seat.
What stance does Joshua Prince take on gun rights?
Joshua Prince ardently defends gun rights and the 2nd Amendment. He opposes nearly any restrictions or gun control legislation as unconstitutional. Prince’s uncompromising pro-gun views define his legal and political career.