25 Reasons to Celebrate IJ’s 25th Anniversary

September 3 marks the 25th anniversary of the Institute for Justice, the national law firm for liberty. Here are 25 reasons to celebrate!

  • In 25 years, IJ has litigated over 200 cases. Right now, IJ is litigating 45 cases in 27 states.
  • Out of all those cases, IJ won 70 percent of them, either in the courthouse, through legislative reforms or in the court of public opinion.
  • IJ litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court five times, winning four cases involving school choice, campaign finance and economic liberty.
  • The fifth case was the infamous Kelo v. New London decision, which sparked a nationwide backlash against the abuse of eminent domain. IJ successfully channeled outrage at Kelo into legislative reforms in 44 states.

  • Through both activism and litigation, IJ has saved more than 16,000 homes, businesses, churches and other private properties from the abuse of eminent domain.
  • IJ is leading the fight against civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize and keep property without charging the owner with a crime. In the past two years alone, 17 states have reformed their forfeiture laws, while two states—Nebraska and New Mexico—abolished the practice entirely.
  • IJ made the IRS return wrongfully seized cash from small business owners all across the country. In part due to IJ’s efforts, both the U.S. Department of Justice and the IRS have announced new policies to reform this practice, known as “structuring.” After IJ successfully launched a petition effort, the IRS agreed to let more than 700 property owners know that they too could petition to get their forfeited money back.
  • Over 150 newspapers editorials agree with IJ that civil forfeiture needs to be reformed or outright abolished.

  • IJ secured a vital victory for free speech with SpeechNow.org v. FEC, which the Congressional Research Service described as representing one of “the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades.”
  • IJ successfully defeated the attempts made by licensing boards to censor a popular advice columnist, a paleo diet blogger and tour guides.
  • IJ once defended the casket-making monks of Saint Joseph Abbey and successfully challenged a Louisiana law that made it a crime for anyone but a government-licensed funeral director to sell caskets to the public.
  • IJ filed over a dozen lawsuits on behalf of natural hair braiders, setting important precedents in the fight to roll back occupational licensing. Today, braiders are free from licensure in 20 states.
  • IJ opened transportation markets in Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and New York City.
  • After Minneapolis, Milwaukee and San Diego deregulated their taxi industries, IJ successfully defended their reforms from specious lawsuits by powerful cab companies.
  • In 2015, IJ secured a landmark victory for economic liberty when the Texas Supreme Court ruled in Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation that forcing eyebrow threaders to become licensed estheticians was “so burdensome as to be oppressive.”

  • Thanks to the precedent set in Patel, IJ helped free food trucks in San Antonio and strike down a law that forced brewers to give up millions of dollars of valuable property to politically connected beer distributors.
  • IJ secured two major victories for school choice at the U.S. Supreme Court, including Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the biggest Supreme Court education case since Brown v. Board of Education.
  • IJ represented parents and children in 29 school choice cases.
  • Today, nearly 400,000 students now benefit from school choice programs in 22 states.
  • IJ’s Strategic Research team has produced many cutting-edge reports that delve deep into IJ’s issues. The U.S. Supreme Court and over 160 scholarly, legal and policy publications have all cited IJ’s Strategic Research.
  • IJ’s landmark study License to Work measured for the first time the burdens that occupational licensing imposed on more than 100 low- and moderate-income workers. That report has even been cited in testimony before Congress and in a Pulitzer Prize finalist editorial series by The Des Moines Register.

  • IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement plays a key role in informing the public and legal scholars about the proper role of the judiciary, injecting a fresh perspective into the stale debate over “judicial activism” vs. “judicial restraint.”
  • IJ earned Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating every year since 2001. That puts IJ in the highest one percentile of the more than 8,000 nonprofits ranked each year by Charity Navigator.
  • IJ operates a Clinic on Entrepreneurship that has provided first-rate assistance to over 200 entrepreneurs, ranging from a flower peddler to a fast-growing tech start-up.
  • IJ’s Communications team regularly secures coverage in many high-profile outlets, including 60 Minutes, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

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