Texas State Office

Texas

“That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established…”
 
  —Preamble to the Texas Bill of Rights

 The Institute for Justice has been actively involved in litigating Texas cases since it was established. Headquartered in downtown Austin, IJ-Texas litigates statewide for economic liberty, private property rights, educational choice, freedom of speech and other vital liberties secured by the Texas Constitution.  As the Institute’s newest state office, IJ-Texas supports IJ’s national calling while advancing Texas’ historical ethos of liberty.  

isis press-conference
 IJ-TX client Isis Brantley and attorney Arif Panju
IJ-TX client Maria Robledo

 

IJ Texas' first case was an economic liberty challenge to a state law limiting computer repair to licensed private investigators:Texas Computer RepairRife v. Texas Private Security Board.  The law, which required computer repair technicians to become licensed private investigators, passed in 2007 and evoked concern among skilled computer technicians across Texas. Fortunately, the Texas legislature eventually succumbed to common sense, and the law was revised, marking IJ-TX’s first successful steps in making Texas a freer, friendlier state for entrepreneurs.

On October 1, 2013, IJ-TX filed suit in federal court on behalf of African hairbraider Isis Brantley. Isis has been practicing and teaching natural hair care in Dallas for over 30 years, and her clients include everyone from homeless women looking for a fresh start, to recording artist Erykah Badu. When the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation learned that Isis was teaching others to braid hair, they demanded that she spend hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to meet the requirements of the state’s barber instructor statutes. Unwilling to exhaust so many of her resources in pursuing a license that has nothing to do with braiding, and costly, unnecessary upgrades to her licensed salon, Isis teamed up with IJ to strike down a law that favors established cosmetology interests and bars entrepreneurs from pursuing their passion.

Currently before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and originally filed in April of 2013, IJ-TX is defending a First Amendment challenge to the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiner’s actions against experienced vet Ronald Hines. Dr. Hines is a retired veterinarian who runs a website where he offers advice to pet owners from all around the globe; often the people seeking his advice lack the financial resources to see a brick-and-mortar vet, or are in areas too geographically removed to make it possible. Dr. Hines charges little to nothing for his help, and the articles he publishes on his website are free to all. But Texas law requires that a veterinarian examine an animal in person before offering advice for that animal’s care – although it has yet to produce any evidence that this requirement furthers a legitimate state interest.

On December 8, 2009, IJ-TX filed a constitutional challenge that has now made its way to the Supreme Court of Texas. The suit was filed on behalf of eight eyebrow threaders against the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  Texas is demanding that eyebrow threaders—who use nothing but tightly wound cotton thread to remove unwanted facial hair—obtain an expensive and unnecessary license or be under threat of shutting down.  State enforcers are instructing successful threaders, some with more than 20 years of experience, to spend $20,000 and one year of their lives going to a school that doesn’t teach their trade.  Particularly in these troubled economic times, the last thing Texans need is for the government to stand in the way of people who are trying to earn an honest living.  IJ-TX is fighting to allow eyebrow threaders to continue practicing their trade free from unnecessary government regulation.

IJ-TX is defending the First Amendment rights of tour guides in New Orleans; the right to pursue the occupation of their choice for orthodontists in Arkansas; and is always on the lookout for ways to help make Texas a bastion of liberty.

 

 

Directions to IJ's-Texas office

The Institute for Justice Texas office is located on the 9th Floor of the IBC Bank building at the corner of 9th Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. Please park in the IBC Bank parking garage (the entrance to the garage is on 9th street).

816 Congress Ave, Suite 960
Austin, TX 78701

To determine a door-to-door route to IJ-Texas, visit Google Maps and enter your starting address.

Phone: (512) 480-5936
Fax: (512) 480-5937

Law Student Clerkships:

To apply for semester clerkships in our Texas office, please submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample via email to apanju@ij.org.  If you are interested in applying for a summer clerkship please visit www.ij.org/students.

 

Guest Speaker Information:

If you would like to invite an Institute for Justice attorney to a debate or to speak to your group, please email activism@ij.org. To see if there are any events currently scheduled near you, please go to our Speakers & Events page.

 

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