December 2013, Volume 22, Number 6

The IJ Path to Victory

IJ’s success is built on maintaining momentum in litigation involving many complex cases. This enables us to elevate issues to national prominence and vindicate the rights of large numbers of people. And it means that we are always faced with challenges that call upon us to sharpen and enhance our approach to strategic public interest…

IJ Defends Alabama’s New School Choice Program

For too long in Alabama the educational fate of children depended solely upon their zip code. If children were assigned to poorly performing schools, they had little choice but to attend and the school no real incentive to improve. But earlier this year, the Alabama legislature enacted new school choice legislation, called the Alabama Accountability…

Anaheim Property Owner & IJ Win Forfeiture Fight

Tony Jalali stood to lose his entire commercial building in Anaheim, Calif., even though he was never charged with—let alone convicted of—any crime. This is what property owners throughout America face when confronted with the tyrannical doctrine of civil forfeiture. But, in October, Tony prevailed. The government, which tried to take Tony’s property, dropped its…

Taken; Fighting the Forfeiture Machine in Michigan

Terry Dehko and his daughter, Sandy, run Schott’s Supermarket in Fraser, Mich. Terry is the embodiment of the American Dream: He came to America from Iraq in 1970 and bought the grocery store in 1978. Today, the store employs about 30 people and is popular for its quality deli selection and freshly baked bread. Sandy…

IJ Wins Second Atlanta Vending Lawsuit: Court Orders Mayor to Issue Permits

The battle for the streets of Atlanta still rages. When we last wrote, the Atlanta city council was considering a modest bill to let vendors return to work until the end of the year, when a permanent bill could be enacted. The bill appeared poised for passage, but then Mayor Kasim Reed strong-armed the full…

A Double Victory for the First Amendment

For public-interest litigators, there’s only one thing better than winning a case: winning two cases. We had exactly that experience in late September when federal district courts in Mississippi and Arizona handed IJ two major First Amendment victories within hours of each other. Both cases are part of IJ’s Citizen Speech campaign, a multi-state effort…

Unlocking Economic Liberty in Texas

Texas laws that apply to African hairbraiding instructors have a cruel twist. IJ client Isis Brantley is one of the country’s leading African hairbraiders, working with everyone from Grammy-award-winning artist Erykah Badu to the homeless. She wants to teach people to braid hair for a living. But even with her three decades of experience, Texas…

IJ Wins a Victory for Minnesota Entrepreneurs: The Government Cannot Make You Do Useless Things

Can the government make Minnesota entrepreneurs do useless things just to be in business? On October 9, the Second Judicial District answered with a resounding “no,” giving the Institute for Justice a major state constitutional victory. The court’s ruling struck down Minnesota’s embalming rooms law that required every funeral home in the state to have…

IJ Secures Important Victory For School Choice In Arizona

The Arizona Court of Appeals recently upheld an innovative school choice program—a program that one of IJ’s student-clients credits with putting his life back on course. Seventeen-year-old Austin Fox was barely scraping by in public school. His Asperger Syndrome makes it difficult for him to filter ambient noise, especially in large, bustling classrooms. His public…

The Power of School Choice: The Lexie Weck Story

Lexie Weck was born with autism, cerebral palsy and mild mental retardation. Doctors told her mother, Andrea, that Lexie would never walk and likely never talk. But “never” is not a word in Andrea’s vocabulary. Andrea used vouchers to choose the best possible school for Lexie. The results have been remarkable: Lexie recently scaled 30-foot…

Fighting for Their Rights: The CYAC Goes Another Round in Court

As the three judges on the California Court of Appeal filed into the courtroom, I reflected that they might be surprised to see an audience of 15 young people, many in their teens and some under the age of ten. And after the argument, I reflected that they might also have been surprised at the…

Final Victory For Louisiana Monks—and Economic Liberty

This case arose when the brothers of Saint Joseph Abbey, a century-old Benedictine monastery in Covington, La., began to sell their handmade wooden caskets in late 2007 to support their educational and health care expenses. The board moved to shut down the monks’ fledgling business before it sold even one casket because it was a…

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