Raleigh, N.C.—Today, a state superior court judge denied the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ motion to dismiss a constitutional challenge to a law that bans medical providers from purchasing an MRI scanner without first obtaining special permission—called a “certificate of need,” or CON—from the government. The court cleared the way for the…
Deadline to apply for cash settlement with city December 6, 2019
PHILADELPHIA—Philadelphians who lost their property to the city’s abusive civil forfeiture machine must apply by December 6, 2019 to receive a cash settlement. Last fall, the Institute for Justice (IJ) announced an agreement with the city to end a class action lawsuit on behalf of people who had homes, cash and cars wrongfully seized. After…
IJ asks Supreme Court to End DOJ’s End Run Around Paying Attorneys’ Fees to Innocent Victims of Civil Forfeiture
Arlington, Va.—On May 11, 2015, Miladis Salgado returned home to find her life turned upside down. While she was at work, police had raided her home and seized her entire life savings—$15,000 in cash she was saving for her daughter—based on a tip that her estranged husband was dealing drugs. He wasn’t, but that didn’t stop the…
Case Appealed to U.S. Supreme Court Highlights Threat to Nonprofit Donors and Private Charity
“Charities should not have to show that their donors have been subject to the terroristic threats the NAACP suffered in the 1950s before they will be allowed to keep their donor lists private. By that time, the harm to private speech and association has already been done.” Arlington, Virginia—Would you want the government to know…
Many Americans struggle to find work because of arrest records, even if they were never convicted or charged with a crime, because they cannot afford to pay court fees
Arlington, Va.—An Iowa woman is trapped in a Catch-22. Years ago, she was arrested but then never convicted of a crime. The arrest is a public record, standing as a barrier to her getting a good job. By paying her debt to the court system, she could wipe her record clean, a process known as…
State adopts new regulations allowing placements with religious employers
In a move to end discrimination and provide expanded employment and educational opportunities to Washington’s higher-ed students, yesterday the Washington Student Achievement Council adopted new regulations that will allow students in the state’s Work Study Program to take jobs with religiously affiliated employers. The new regulations were adopted in response to a 2018 lawsuit challenging…
A community in Tulsa joins together to stop city officials from following through with plans to tear down homes for “urban renewal”
Tulsa, Okla.—Today, residents and supporters of Tulsa’s Pearl District announced the formation of a new group, Save the Pearl Coalition. The new group is dedicated to stopping the city and Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) from taking residents’ homes against their will for the purpose of redevelopment. While the TDA has publicized the plans as a…
Sally Ladd is a New Jersey-based entrepreneur who provides short-term vacation property management services in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. But after Pennsylvania wanted her to obtain a real-estate broker’s license, which requires her to spend three years working for an established broker, Sally felt forced to shut down her business.
Jason and Jacki have owned their property in Golden Valley, a suburb of Minneapolis, for decades. But the city hasn’t respected their tenants’ wishes and instead has tried to obtain unconstitutional “administrative” warrants to force its way inside.
Kriss Marion is the founder of her local farmers’ market in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. But under the state’s ban on selling home-baked goods, Kriss must instead give her extra baked goods away or feed them to her pigs and chickens.
Linda Cameron has been living in the same Richland, Washington home for nearly 40 years. After consulting with a builder, Linda decided to turn her outdated carport into a garage and add a second bedroom and bathroom. But Richland won’t give her a building permit unless she pays over $60,000 in “impact fees.”
IJ client Jane Astramecki, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, runs a home baking business. But Minnesota’s restrictive cottage food law bans her from earning more than $5,000 a year and from selling her treats at venues other than farmers’ markets and community events.
Ash Patel moved to Texas from India to pursue his American Dream of opening up an eyebrow threading salon. But in 2009, Texas demanded that eyebrow threaders obtain an expensive cosmetology license—even though beauty schools teach absolutely nothing about eyebrow threading. Ash shut down his successful business to avoid paying $2,000 in fines. He teamed up with the Institute for Justice to vindicate his rights. Six years later, IJ scored one of its most important economic liberty victories when the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state had violated the Texas Constitution by ordering threaders to obtain 750 hours of conventional cosmetology training. Threaders all over Texas are now free to work without having to obtain a government-issued license.
Robert Martin operates the Red’s Comfort Foods food truck and offers specialty gourmet hot dogs and sausages in Louisville, Kentucky. The city’s 150-foot ban makes it difficult for Robert to operate his Red’s Comfort Foods food truck in Louisville because the law creates no-vending zones that extend 150 feet around every restaurant, café and eating establishment in the city. In fact, Robert was even cited in 2015 for vending downtown within 150 feet of a restaurant.
Brent worked in banking for 42 years before he co-founded Vizaline to provide small community banks with a cost effective way to assess small property assets within their portfolios. But the Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors claimed the company was practicing unlicensed surveying.
Scott Fisher runs a video game store in Orange Park, Florida, just outside Jacksonville. To boost foot traffic and visibility for his business, he set up a giant inflatable Mario, only to run afoul of the town’s sign code. Scott has joined with the Institute for Justice to defend his First Amendment rights.
Dr. Mark Baumel, of Colon Health Centers for America, wants to increase the rate of screening for colon cancers. But when Dr. Baumel and his partners sought Virginia’s permission to buy new CT scanners, it denied them a “certificate of need.”
A registered nurse and grandmother from Katy, Texas, Anthonia had over $40,000 in cash seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She was heading to Nigeria and planned to use the money to help family and to built a new medical clinic. Anthonia is now the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against CBP’s policies of seizing cash and demanding owners waive away their constitutional rights to recover their money.
Esteban Narez, 26, grew up in Watsonville, California with his mother and two sisters. Esteban withdrew from high school his senior year due to a major injury. He hasn’t been able to get a GED because the medical bills and his family’s finances have forced him to work full-time ever since. Esteban wants to train as a farrier, but California won’t let him.
Russ Caswell and his family have owned and operated the Motel Caswell in Tewksbury, Mass., for two generations. The Caswells nearly had their property taken from them by local and federal law enforcement officials through a process known as civil forfeiture.
Kim Billups turned her lifelong passion for history into a fun tourism business called Charleston Belle Tours, where Kim could give in-character tours of the major sites in Charleston, SC in full period regalia.
The owner and operator of the Pizza di Joey food truck, Joey is challenging Baltimore’s 300-foot rule because it threatens his lifelong dream of owning his own pizza business. He also believes that the city shouldn’t be limiting hungry Baltimoreans’ dining choices.
Flor Morency is the mother of twin children, a boy and a girl, who have received scholarships through Nevada’s program. But in July, Morency was told that her children could no longer receive a scholarship because a new state law made it statistically impossible to grant scholarships to all renewing students.
The Washington Department of Licensing ordered IJ client Salamata Sylla to obtain a time-consuming and irrelevant cosmetology license for hair braiding. IJ sued on her behalf and forced the Department to adopt a rule exempting braiders.
Kevin is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
Rett owns Revolver Brewing, south of Fort Worth. He is fighting a Texas law that forces brewers to give up their distribution rights to distributors for free. Even worse, distributors can then sell those rights to other distributors and pocket the money.
Under Red Wing, Minn.’s rental inspection ordinance, it is easier for the government to force its way into the homes of law-abiding citizens than it is to search the home of a suspected criminal. Robert and Rebecca joined a lawsuit to stop these unreasonable and intrusive inspections of their private residential properties.
Troy and Angela Nelson operate a small family farm in Palermo, Maine. They have two children, Alicia, who attends a nonreligious school, and Royce, who attends Temple Academy, a private, Christian school. Palermo won’t pay for Royce’s tuition, simply because he attends a religious school, even though its pays tuition for Alicia.
Founded in 2011, ROSE is an Atlanta-based, nonprofit organization that works to increase access to breastfeeding support and improve healthcare equity among African-American communities in Georgia and around the country.
IJ client Dr. Ben Burris is an Arkansas orthodontist who wants to offer low-cost teeth cleanings to people who cannot otherwise afford them. But it is illegal for him to perform basic dental services, even though he is a licensed dentist.
Florence and Derrick would like their children to attend a Catholic high school in Aurora, Colo. But paying tuition for both children to attend Regis would be a substantial financial burden, so scholarships by Douglas County’s school choice program would help defray costs.
Samantha Harris hired Sally Ladd, a New Jersey-based entrepreneur, to manager her short-term vacation rental in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. But when Pennsylvania wanted Ladd to obtain a real-estate broker’s license, which requires her to spend three years working for an established broker, Sally felt forced to shut down her business.
Ilumi has worked with children since she came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 1995. Although she has a Child Development Associate credential (“CDA”) and was trained as a lawyer in her home country, Ilumi does not have the associate’s degree now required under District of Columbia’s new regulations.
Under Gramite City, Illinois’ ordinance, private landlords are required to evict tenants if any member of the tenant’s household commits a crime anywhere, even if, as in Jessica and Kenny’s case, the actual criminal no longer lives in the house.
IJ client Elmer Kilian has been preparing taxes for the past 30 years on his dining room table. He fought and successfully defended his right to earn an honest living without getting permission from the IRS.
Dave and Amy Carson are residents of Glenburn, Maine and have sent their daughter, Olivia, now a sophomore, to Bangor Christian Schools. But because Olivia’s school is religious, Glenburn is prohibited from paying for Olivia’s tuition.
David and Ellen Keith have lived in Pleasant Ridge since the 1970s, and a daughter, a granddaughter and even two great-grandchildren live next door. But if forced out, they will be left nearly destitute in their retirement.
David Diaz, a custodian at a synagogue in the Bronx, lives with members of his family in an apartment near the Bronx Zoo. The NYPD raided the apartment in 2013, entering with guns drawn, and arrested all the adults present, but did not charge anyone.
Iowa’s certificate-of-need requirement prevents Michael Driesen and his children from receiving future ENT surgeries from Korver ENT because Korver ENT cannot open its proposed surgery center before obtaining a certificate of need.