IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative

Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden?

IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative is here to help. Fill out the form below and check out IJ’s reports, The Attack on Food Freedom and Flour Power, to learn more.

IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative is a nationwide campaign that brings a variety of challenges to laws that interfere with the ability of people like you to make, buy, sell, eat, grow or advertise different foods.

Across the country, governments at every level are chipping away at the rights of food entrepreneurs through irrational and overly burdensome regulations.

Since 2015, IJ has been at the forefront at the fight for the rights of food entrepreneurs and consumers against these needless restrictions.

From bakers in Wisconsin faced with up to $1,000 in fines for preparing treats in their home kitchens, to Texas craft breweries forced to give up their distribution rights for nothing, IJ fights to empower food entrepreneurs. Through litigation and grassroots activism, IJ continues to demonstrate the importance of liberty in the food industry. See below for a timeline of successes in the food freedom movement or to see how IJ’s National Food Freedom Initiative can help you.

How is the government limiting your food freedom?

Initiative Cases

  • Washington DC Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Uqdah v. Board of Cosmetology

    The Institute for Justice represented Taalib-Din Abdul Uqdah and his wife Pamela Ferrell in their successful challenge to the 1938 Cosmetology Code of the District of Columbia. For more than a decade, Uqdah, the owner of a successful African hair-braiding salon, Cornrows & Co., was harassed by the unelected Board of Cosmetology of the District…

  • Chicago School Choice

    Chicago and Los Angeles School Choice Cases

    The Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of several dozen low-income parents and children trapped in Chicago public schools, challenging under the Illinois Constitution the shockingly poor quality of public schooling and demanding a “voucher” remedy to enable the parents to obtain a better education for their children in private schools.  The Cook…

  • Los Angeles School Choice

    Chicago and Los Angeles School Choice Cases

    The Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of several dozen low-income parents and children trapped in Los Angeles public schools, challenging under the California Constitution the shockingly poor quality of public schooling and demanding a “voucher” remedy to enable the parents to obtain a better education for their children in private schools.  California…

  • Denver Taxis

    IJ Breaks Up Denver's 50-Year-Old Taxi Monopoly

    On August 1, 1995, three minority entrepreneurs launched Freedom Cabs, Denver’s first new taxi cab company in 50 years.  For the five decades prior to that day, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission refused to license any new cab company, citing laws and regulations that effectively denied entry to the market and firmly entrenched a three-company…

  • Davis Bacon Act

    Removing Barriers to Opportunity: A Constitutional Challenge to The Davis-Bacon Act

    Tyrone Dash of Seattle owned and operated his own company, T&S Construction, from 1984 to 1990.  But he was forced into bankruptcy because of a law passed in 1931 that requires him to pay his workers a set amount, the “prevailing wage,” on nearly all federally funded construction projects, regardless of the workers’ individual skill…

  • Minnesota Takings

    Bogged Down in Minnesota's Regulatory Swamp

    The Institute for Justice represented siblings and semi-retired farmers John and Josephine Bronczyk in its attempt to defend the right of Minnesota property owners to exclude outsiders from their property. In this case, we sought to force the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make sense of a confusing and contradictory mess of wetlands…

  • Interracial Adoption in Texas and Tennessee (joined)

    Reisman v. Tennessee Dept. of Human Services Institute for Justice Defends Interacial Adoption

    In April 1995, the Institute for Justice filed suit in Texas and joined an existing suit in Tennessee as part of its challenge to race matching by state agencies-a practice whereby social workers delayed or denied adoptions when a child’s race did not match that of the adoptive parents. The Institute sought to establish a…

  • In an effort to avoid expenditures related to a growing public school population and to provide parental choice, the Southeast Delaware County School District in Pennsylvania approved a program of tax benefits for families who relieve the district of public school expenses by sending their children to private schools or public schools in other districts.…

  • Milwaukee School Choice

    Milwaukee Parental Choice Program nation’s first publicly funded school choice program for low-income children

    Begun in 1990, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program is the nation’s first publicly funded school choice program for low-income children.  The product of an alliance between enterprising Democratic state legislator Polly Williams and Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, the program started as a modest proposal to deal with Milwaukee’s educational crisis and slowly gained popularity.  By…

  • Park Forest, IL Rental Inspections

    Searching Without Consent: Government's Assault on the Sanctity of the Home

    The Institute represented rental housing tenants in Park Forest, Ill., in its challenge to a housing inspection law that allow local officials to conduct warrantless, nonconsensual inspections of rented single-family homes. Government officials justified their inspections on the basis of preserving “the housing stock of the community,” a purpose that if upheld by the courts…

  • In the first legal challenge to the Cleveland school choice program, teachers’ unions and other special interest groups filed a lawsuit in state court shortly before the program began in 1996.  Choice opponents alleged that the program violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as well as the “compelled support” clause of the Ohio…

  • Chittenden, VT School Choice

    Vermont's School Choice Program: Neutral to Religion

    For well over a century, Vermont’s “tuitioning” system has offered a sensible and popular solution for education in rural areas.  About half of Vermont towns participate, giving their residents the right to send their children to any school of their choice—public or private, in-state or out-of-state.  For about 90 years, that included the ability to…

  • Atlantic City Condemnation – Vera Coking

    Public Power, Private Gain: The Abuse of Eminent Domain

    “Individual freedom finds tangible expression in property rights.” This statement, penned by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, recognizes how central property rights are to a free society. Yet, with increasing frequency, federal, state, and local governments bow to political and economic expediency and trample the rights of property owners. Vera Coking, an elderly widow…

  • California Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers to Economic Opportunity

    Teaming with Dr. JoAnne Cornwell, a “locktician” from San Diego who created the “Sisterlocks” technique of natural hairstyling (and who chairs of the Africana Studies Department at San Diego State University), the Institute for Justice in 1999 struck down California’s expansive, expensive and arbitrary cosmetology laws that had prevented hundreds of African-Americans (mostly women) from…

  • New York Vans

    Challenging Barriers to Economic Opportunity: Hector Ricketts v. City of New York

    Rather than accept public handouts after he lost his job, Hector Ricketts went into business for himself driving jitney vans.  He founded Queens Van Plan, Inc., to provide much-needed reliable van service to low-income communities in New York that are isolated by inferior, expensive public transportation.  Hector’s vans—and those of other small companies—not only put…

  • CFTC Challenge

    The CFTC vs. The First Amendment: The Federal Government's Assault on Free Speech

    In one of the first cases to extend First Amendment protections to the Internet, the Institute for Justice successfully defeated an attempt by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to license Internet and software publishers.  If the regulators had prevailed, development of software and online content would have been dramatically curtailed as government agencies would have…

  • Maine School Choice I

    The Case for School Choice: Raymond, Maine

    For well over a century, Maine parents in rural towns without public schools have enjoyed the right to select the school that best suits their children’s educational needs.  The town then pays tuition to the school that the parents choose.  Parents who live in “tuitioning towns” are free to pick any school for their children—public…

  • Ohio Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Hosey v. Ohio State Board of Cosmetology

    Under Ohio law, it was illegal to braid hair without a cosmetology license.  Obtaining the license required 1,500 hours of cosmetology school.  (Compare that to the 20 hours of training required to serve as a security guard with a firearm or the 130 hours of training to become an emergency medical technician, or even the…

  • What does a North Dakota farmer have in common with a political radical in Berkeley, a gospel radio station owner in Hartford, and Hispanic community activists in Cleveland? They all have become outlaws at the hands of the Federal Communications Commission’s misguided campaign to eliminate low-power radio. Roy Neset, a North Dakota farmer wanted to…

  • Las Vegas Limousines

    The Fight For A Free Market: Opening The Las Vegas Limousine Monopoly

    In May 2001, the Institute for Justice scored a major legal victory for economic liberty on behalf of independent Las Vegas limousine operators.  A Nevada court ruled that the State’s Transportation Services Authority (TSA) violated the constitutional rights of independent limousine operators who were unable to get limousine licenses due to the action of regulators…

  • In 1999, Florida passed the nation’s first statewide school choice program, Opportunity Scholarships, which enabled students to opt out of failing public schools and into better-performing public or private schools. The program has provided educational opportunities for hundreds of students while spurring real, measurable improvement in Florida’s most troubled public schools. Nonetheless, one day after…

  • Cleveland, Ohio, School Choice (Federal Case)

    U.S. Supreme Court issued its most important educational decision since Brown v. Board of Education

    On June 27, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Cleveland’s school choice program in the most important education decision since Brown v. Board of Education.  The court’s ruling in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris removed the federal Constitution from the legal arsenal of teachers’ unions and other school choice opponents and opened the door…

  • Pittsburgh Wool

    Pittsburgh City Council Tried to Abuse Government’s Eminent Domain Power

    After months of being threatened with the loss of their property through the government’s abuse of eminent domain, the Pittsburgh Wool Company avoided government condemnation with the help of the Institute for Justice when it reached a private agreement to be purchased by the Heinz Company.  On August 2, 1999, the Pittsburgh City Council voted…

  • Arizona Campaign Finance (First Challenge)

    Challenging Coerced Subsidies for the Political Class: A First Amendment Lawsuit

    Arizona’s “campaign finance reform” forces some people to pay for other people’s political speech—speech with which the individual being taxed often disagrees. Arizona’s Clean Elections Act, which could prove a harbinger for nationwide public campaign financing efforts, was enacted by a narrow majority of the Arizona electorate in November 1998.  The law creates a public…

  • Tennessee Caskets

    The Right to Urn an Honest Living: Challenging Tennessee's Casket Monopoly

    In December 2002, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the government cannot restrict individuals’ right to earn an honest living by imposing protectionist regulations.  The decision upheld a lower court finding that Tennessee’s government-imposed casket monopoly unconstitutionally violated the right of independent casket retailers to earn an honest living free from…

  • When Illinois passed an education tax credit program in 1999, it got not one, but two lawsuits from the teachers unions’ challenging the program as unconstitutional.  In each case, the Institute for Justice intervened to defend the program on behalf of 12 Illinois families, and in six separate decisions state courts found the program constitutional…

  • New York Wine

    Uncorking Freedom: Challenging Protectionist Restraints on Direct Interstate Wine Shipments to Consumers

    Juanita Swedenburg, Virginia vintner and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, successfully waged the nation’s leading legal battle to reestablish the American ideals of unfettered interstate commerce, especially on the Internet. With the help of the Institute for Justice, Swedenburg challenged discriminatory laws that existed only to protect the monopoly power of large,…

  • Arizona Individual Tax Credit Scholarships (Federal)

    U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Legal Challenge to Arizona School Choice Program

    On April 4, 2011, in a major victory for school choice efforts nationwide, the United States Supreme Court dismissed this frivolous legal challenge to Arizona’s Individual Scholarship Tax Credit, which provides tens of thousands of school children the opportunity to attend the private school of their parent’s choice.

  • Hallmarks of the Institute for Justice’s defense of its clients’ constitutional rights include thinking creatively and trying new tactics. Never was this more apparent than in our fight to save 60 buildings and more than 120 small businesses in downtown Pittsburgh from Mayor Tom Murphy’s plan to take the properties through eminent domain so he…

  • New York Eminent Domain

    Hopelessly Rigged: New Yorkers Try to Save Their Property

    The abuse of eminent domain—where government takes private property against the owner’s will—is a nationwide problem. But for years, New York property owners faced a particularly outrageous system not only fraught with abuse, but set up to prevent property owners from challenging such abuse under state procedures. On Wednesday, October 4, 2000, the Washington, D.C.-based…

  • Kelo Eminent Domain

    Eminent Domain Without Limits?: U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Curb Nationwide Abuses

    Susette Kelo dreamed of owning a home that looked out over the water. She purchased and lovingly restored her little pink house where the Thames River meets the Long Island Sound in 1997, and had enjoyed the great view from its windows. The Dery family, up the street from Susette, had lived in Fort Trumbull…

  • New Jersey Forfeiture

    Policing and Prosecuting For Profit: New Jersey Ex-Sheriff Fights Civil Forfeiture Abuse

    New Jersey’s civil forfeiture law dangerously transforms law enforcement priorities from fair and impartial administration of justice to the pursuit of property and profit.  New Jersey police departments and prosecutors’ offices are entitled to keep money and property confiscated through the state’s civil forfeiture law, thus giving them a direct financial stake in these forfeitures.…

  • Lonzo Archie, a Mississippi property owner of modest means, eloquently sums up the feelings of many Americans: “You can buy a house, but you cannot buy a home.” The Archie family has made its home on 24 acres of land in Madison County, Mississippi, for decades. But if the State of Mississippi had its way,…

  • Oklahoma Caskets

    Requiem for a Cartel: Challenging Oklahoma’s Casket Monopoly

    In the spring of 2001, Kim Powers, of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and Dennis Bridges, of Knoxville, Tennessee, launched Memorial Concepts Online (www.memorial conceptsonline.com), a company that provides high-quality caskets to consumers across the nation at a discount price.  But Oklahoma is one of a half-dozen states that shuts out potential competitors by requiring anyone who…

  • Mesa, AZ Eminent Domain

    Putting the Brakes on Eminent Domain Abuse in Mesa, Arizona

    Randy Bailey very nearly became a victim of eminent domain until the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter came to his rescue. Bailey’s family has owned Bailey’s Brake Service since the early 1970s. Randy purchased the store with his own savings from his father in 1995, and hopes one day to pass the shop, which has…

  • Maine School Choice II

    Clearing the Road Ahead for School Choice: Institute for Justice Asks U.S. Supreme Court To End Religious Discrimination & Vindicate Parental Liberty

    The Institute for Justice is challenging a 1980 Maine legal change that erroneously banned religious schools from the state’s 100-year-old school choice program.  The case was filed on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court victory upholding Cleveland’s school choice program, a decision that gives ammunition to Maine parents fighting for the right to send…

  • Washington Student Teacher Policies

    The Next Step for School Choice: Removing State Constitutional Obstacles

    In September 2002, IJ filed a lawsuit on behalf of Carolyn Harrison, a student at the University of Washington, Tacoma, and Donnell Rene Penhallurick, a student at Eastern Washington University, challenging the universities’ practice of forbidding teacher degree candidates from student-teaching in religious schools.  The policies were triggered by two Washington state attorney general opinions…

  • Yuma, Arizona Rental Inspections

    Tenants Win Battle to Stop Government Abuse: Yuma Rewrites Rental Inspection Ordinance; Lawsuit Challenging Yuma Warrantless Searches Dismissed

    Under an ordinance adopted in 2002, the City of Yuma, Ariz., tried to force landlords to open their rental property without obtaining consent from or even providing notice to tenants.  Outraged by the City’s disregard for their rights, two tenants and their landlord joined with the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter and filed suit in…

  • Mesa, AZ Signs

    Vindicating Free Speech: Doughnut Entrepreneur Punches Holes In City of Mesa Sign Ordinance That Chills Speech

    In August 2002, a Mesa “code enforcement officer” forced Edward Salib to remove every one of his corporate-issued signs advertising the monthly specials, such as frozen mocha cappuccinos and a three-for-one doughnut special, from his Winchell’s Donut House’s windows.  A City ordinance prevents businesses in the downtown redevelopment area from covering more than 30 percent…

  • New Orleans Book Ban

    Challenging Barriers To Free Speech & Free Enterprise In New Orleans: City of Literary Lore Bans Book Vending

    Josh Wexler and Anne Jordan Blanton had a dream: to open a bookselling business. As a means to that end, Josh and Jordan wanted to sell books on the streets of New Orleans. But, in a bureaucratic Catch-22, the City of New Orleans repeatedly informed them that selling books on the street required a license,…

  • Seattle Trash Hauling

    One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Monopoly: Seattle's Independent “Mosquito Fleet” Challenges the Government-Imposed Construction Waste Hauling Monopoly

    Seattle’s trash industry uses government power to monopolize the industry and protect itself from competition. The Institute for Justice fought to break up this monopoly and restore the civil rights of all Washington entrepreneurs who simply want to earn an honest living free from discriminatory government regulation. In 2001, the City of Seattle declared hauling…

  • California Internet Real Estate Restrictions

    A Web of Restrictions?: Challenging California’s Free Speech Restrictions on Internet Real Estate Advertising Sites

    May the government restrict the speech of real estate advertising websites by forcing them to become licensed?  The Institute for Justice doesn’t think so.  It filed a federal court lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento challenging California’s onerous licensing regime on behalf of two Internet real estate advertising companies — ForSaleByOwner.com and a California…

  • Lakewood, OH, Eminent Domain

    Ohio’s “City of Homes” Faces Wrecking Ball of Eminent Domain Abuse: Homeowners Challenge Bogus “Blight” Designation

    Lakewood, Ohio’s official motto is “The City of Homes.” Yet the City sought to take away through its power of eminent domain the homes of many residents not for a public use, but for private development—specifically, for high-end shopping and upscale condos. Among those who would have been kicked out were Jim and JoAnn Saleet,…

  • Mackinac Free Speech

    The Michigan Education Association Tries to Take the "Free" Out of "Free Speech"

    On September 27, 2001, Michigan Education Association President Luigi Battaglieri said at a news conference that he had called, “. . . quite frankly, I admire what they [the Mackinac Center] have done over the last couple of years entering into the field as they have and being pretty much the sole provider of research…

  • Colorado Opportunity Contract Program

    Securing Educational Opportunity For Colorado Families: Institute for Justice and Colorado Parents Defend Historic Parental Choice Program

    In April 2003, Colorado attempted to become the first state in the nation to fulfill the promise of equal educational opportunity offered by the U.S. Supreme Court when it upheld Cleveland’s school choice program.  Colorado approved legislation creating Opportunity Contracts, a voucher program to enable low-income families in the state’s poorest-performing school districts to send…

  • Utah Asset Forfeiture

    Ending Prosecution for Profit in Utah: Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State’s Civil Forfeiture Law

    We challenged prosecutors in three of Utah’s largest counties who decided that they did not have to abide by a forfeiture reform initiative passed overwhelmingly by Utah citizens in 2000. Under the initiative, civil forfeiture proceeds must go into the state’s education fund or be used to compensate victims of crime. Prosecutors hated this requirement…

  • Redmond, WA Free Speech

    Vindicating Free Speech: City of Redmond Sign Ordinance Punches Hole in Bagel Entrepreneur’s First Amendment Rights

    On September 15, 2006, the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter (IJ-WA) won an important free speech victory when the 9th Cir. U.S. Court of Appeals held that a City of Redmond, Wash., ordinance banning Blazing Bagels store owner Dennis Ballen’s signs was unconstitutional. The Court held that the ordinance, which banned certain kinds of portable…

  • Glendale, OH Free Speech

    Banning “For Sale” Signs: The Latest Sign of a Growing Nanny State

    In July 2003, the City of Glendale, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, threatened Chris Pagan with a hefty fine and even jail time because he put a “for sale” sign in the window of his car.  Glendale bans the words “for sale” from parked cars because it thinks people will walk into traffic and get…

  • “Got Milk” Ad Campaign

    Got Free Speech?: IJ & Independent Dairy Farmers Challenge Mandatory Milk Advertising

    Milk producers who are forced to pay for those ubiquitous “got milk?” ads  asked the federal courts, “got free speech?”  Unfortunately, after a victory in the lower appellate courts, the Supreme Court answered that they don’t. Although just about everyone has seen the “got milk?” ads on television and in print, most people do not…

  • Norwood, OH Eminent Domain

    Norwood, Ohio Homeowners & Small Businesses Battle City & Private Developer Over Eminent Domain Abuse

    In a resounding repudiation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously held that taking the home of Carl and Joy Gamble, and the properties of IJ’s other clients, was unconstitutional. Norwood v. Horney was the first case on the issue of eminent domain’s use…

  • Arizona Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity

    The Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter helped secure a major economic liberty victory for Essence Farmer and other aspiring natural hair braiders in Arizona when the state legislature passed in April 2004 a law exempting braiders from the State’s cosmetology licensing scheme. Arizona’s Board of Cosmetology had required individuals who practice natural hair braiding, but…

  • Louisiana Florists (first challenge)

    Let a Thousand Florists Bloom: Uprooting Outrageous Licensing Laws In Louisiana

    This case was first filed in 2003 but pulled due to Hurricane Katrina and other unforeseeable situations.  Information on the current case, Chauvin v. Strain, can be found here   Why would the Louisiana Horticulture Commission force a florist to either throw away seven perfectly fine floral displays or be fined $250?  Because would-be Baton…

  • Arizona Campaign Finance (Second Challenge)

    The Dirty Truth about Arizona’s “Clean Elections” Act: U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Strike Down Program that Discourages Free Speech, Puts Thumb on Scales for Government-Funded Political Candidates

    In 2008, the Institute for  Justice and the Goldwater Institute teamed up to challenge Arizona’s punitive  system of funding campaigns with taxpayer money.  The consolidated challenges to the  “matching funds” provision of Arizona’s so-called “Clean Elections” Act  eventually made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on March 28, 2011,  heard argument in Arizona…

  • Lynnwood, WA Sign Ordinance

    Advertising Ban Is Sign of Big Government: Washington's City of Lynnwood Bans Signs For Businesses But Not for Politicians

    The Futon Factory is a family-owned business that operates a futon store on 196th Street in Lynnwood. In order to inform potential customers of the high-quality and attractive furniture at their store, the owners of the Futon Factory – David Bolles, his wife Monica De Raspe Bolles, and John De Raspe – hired a sign-holder…

  • Georgia Rental Inspections

    Mandatory Inspections of Rental Property: Is Your Apartment Your Castle?

    The City of Marietta enacted a rental-housing inspection ordinance in 2004, requiring landlords to obtain “rental licenses” for all rental properties. To obtain a license, landlords had to hire and pay City-approved “rental housing inspectors” to inspect and certify that properties were in compliance with all housing codes. Nothing in the ordinance, however, required the…

  • Washington Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Untangling African Hair Braiders from Washington's Cosmetology Regime

    The State of Washington is demanding that African hair braider Benta Diaw obtain a cosmetology license to practice the art she learned in Africa from her grandmother—an art the cosmetology schools are not required to teach and one the licensing examination does not test. Benta, who was born and raised in Senegal, simply wants to…

  • Mississippi Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Untangling African Hair Braiders from Mississippi's Cosmetology Regime

    The Institute for Justice helped secure a major victory for economic liberty in April 2005 when the governor of Mississippi signed legislation freeing the state’s African hair braiders from the irrelevant and unnecessary licensing requirements of the State Board of Cosmetology. Previously, braiders across the state were prevented from earning an honest living practicing or…

  • New Hampshire Home Inspections

    Live Free or Die?: New Hampshire Homeowners Forced to Open Doors to Inspectors Or Suffer Consequences

    In this case, the Institute for Justice challenged in federal court a New Hampshire law that allowed government-hired inspectors, for the purposes of property tax assessment, to conduct blanket and warrantless searches of entire neighborhoods.  Any person who refused to allow a warrantless search of his home automatically lost his right to appeal his property-tax…

  • Seattle Bed & Breakfast

    No Room at the Inn—Challenging Seattle's Irrational Bed & Breakfast Regulations

    On March 1, 2005, the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle to vindicate the right of Blayne and Julie McAferty to lawfully pursue their chosen livelihood as innkeepers.  In 2004, the McAfertys had opened their Greenlake Guesthouse in accordance with Seattle’s bed-and-breakfast law.  But a few months later,…

  • Tempe, AZ Condemnation

    Arizona Supreme Court Declines Review Of Tempe Eminent Domain Case: Property Owners Rejoice, Await City of Tempe’s Next Move

    Donna McGregor and Del Sturman own and operate Desert Composites, a machine shop that manufactures various aerospace parts.  Their shop, a heavy industrial use, operated for years in an industrial park on land located in a Maricopa County “island” abutting the City of Tempe.  In 1999, at the behest of a private developer who owned…

  • Minnesota Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Untangling African Hair Braiders from Minnesota's Cosmetology Regime

    To practice their craft, African hair braiders in Minnesota must enroll in 1,550 hours of government-mandated “training” that does not include even one hour of instruction in braiding.  They must also take State-mandated examinations that do not test for braiding skills.  Any braider who refuses to secure a government license can face up to $1,000…

  • In May 2005, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors filed suit against Larry Gegner, a consumer advocate from Buffalo, Missouri, seeking to prohibit him from selling caskets or helping consumers plan private burials. While Gegner operated Serenity Discount Caskets, his consumer advocacy in support of private burials wasn’t something he charged for. In…

  • Washington No New Gas Tax

    Free Speech Under Fire: Politically Motivated Prosecutors Seek to Restrict Media Discussion of Political Issues

    Both the U.S. and Washington Constitutions guarantee the right to free speech. And at the core of these protections lies political speech. In the case of San Juan County v. No New Gas Tax, local prosecutors sought to derail an initiative that would have rolled back a massive tax increase. To accomplish this, they delegated…

  • Colorado Free Speech

    Stifling Political Speech: Stifling Political Speech: Challenging Colorado’s Campaign Finance Regulations

    Nationwide, campaign finance laws, which many hope would be used to “clean up” elections, are instead being widely abused to stifle the speech of those who are unpopular with the political establishment. In Colorado, the Independence Institute, a free market non-profit think tank, faced charges under the state’s campaign finance laws for merely speaking out…

  • Government shouldn’t use its power to help big business weed out competition. Yet that is exactly what Arizona’s Structural Pest Control Commission (SPCC) tried to do by enforcing regulations preventing small-scale landscapers and gardeners from competing with large pest control companies to eradicate weeds in the state. Enter the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter. IJ-AZ’s…

  • Minnesota Winery Internet Speech

    Challenging Minnesota’s Advertising and Internet Speech Ban That Bottles Up Wineries and Consumers

    In a set of regulations out of step with the Internet Age, the State of Minnesota delivers a one-two punch to the growing wine business, particularly Minnesota’s own budding industry, and hinders Minnesota consumers who enjoy various vintages from across the nation. First, the State bans all wineries (even those out of state) from accepting…

  • Maryland Funeral Homes

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity

    All Charles S. Brown wants is the chance to offer consumers the best service a funeral home can at the best price. But the State of Maryland is standing in his way. Brown owns Rest Haven Cemetery in Hagerstown, Md., and runs it with his wife Pat and their son Eric. Charles wants to own…

  • Pennsylvania River Rafting

    Up a Creek Without a Paddle: Summer Camp Challenges Pennsylvania’s River Rafting Cartel

    Government at every level imposes itself with greater frequency on even the most innocent areas of our lives.  In Pennsylvania, that now includes summer camp. For more than 30 years, “Summer’s Best Two Weeks,” (SB2W) a non-profit non-denominational Christian summer camp located about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh in Boswell, Pa., helped its campers navigate…

  • Minneapolis Sign Hangers

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Challenging Minneapolis’ Sign Licensing Law

    The City of Minneapolis retains the discretionary power to issue or deny sign hanger licenses. Unfortunately, its ordinance does not provide meaningful standards or safeguards to constrain this power. Any qualified sign hanger can be refused a license for any reason or no reason at all. Even more troubling, many new or renewed applications are…

  • New Hampshire Free Speech

    Battling the Real Estate Establishment: New Hampshire’s Free Speech Rights Not For Sale

    This is the question the Institute for Justice seeks to answer with a federal court lawsuit filed on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 in U.S. District Court in Concord.  It challenges New Hampshire’s onerous licensing regime on behalf of ZeroBrokerFees.com, an Internet real estate advertising company.  Current State law requires Internet advertising companies like ZeroBrokerFees.com to…

  • Minnesota Horse Teeth Floating

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Challenging Minnesota’s Occupational Licensing Of Horse Teeth Floaters

    Veterinarians have captured Minnesota’s Board of Veterinary Medicine and are using its power to exclude competitors no matter how small the market or how low-risk the area of animal care. An example of this is the crackdown on so-called “horse teeth floaters”—individuals who manually file down points and level a domestic horse’s teeth.  (Horses need…

  • Long Branch, NJ Eminent Domain

    Eminent Domain Abuse in Long Branch, N.J.: City Seeks to Kick Out Middle Class Along Oceanfront To Make Way For the Rich

    Across the United States, local governments are using the power of eminent domain to seize private homes, businesses and farms in order to transfer property to other private owners for their private use.  More often than not, governments justify these private-to-private transfers by claiming that the property is “blighted” and will be “redeveloped” by the…

  • New Mexico Interior Design

    Challenging New Mexico’s Licensing of Speech For Interior Designers

    New Mexico interior designers are now protected from the state’s interference in their business and speech, thanks to the Institute for Justice’s successful challenge to the state’s “title” restriction. The title law prevented individuals who practice interior design from calling themselves interior designers unless they first obtained an expensive and increasingly difficult-to-secure government license. Importantly,…

  • Parker North, CO Free Speech

    Silencing Political Speech: Colorado’s Campaign Finance Laws Stifle Political Debate

    In America, the only thing you should need in order to speak out about politics is an opinion.  After all, political speech and participation is exactly what the First Amendment was designed to protect. But in Colorado, you need more than an opinion.  To speak effectively about elections in Colorado, you must be prepared to…

  • Riviera Beach, FL Eminent Domain

    Protecting Kelo’s Victims In Riviera Beach, Florida: City Seeks to Use Eminent Domain To Replace Lower-Income & Minority Residents With Wealthier Ones

    Thanks to IJ’s litigation efforts, the residents of Riviera Beach are no longer haunted by the specter of eminent domain abuse. In the 2005 now-infamous case of Kelo v. New London, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution allows the taking of property for private economic development, but it also pointed out that…

  • Strobel Family Investments Eminent Domain

    Fighting Eminent Domain Abuse In Washington State: Washington Supreme Court Must Decide: Does “Necessity” Mean What You Need or What You Want?

    May the government take your property simply because it doesn’t think it is upscale enough? What if the government doesn’t actually need your property but takes it just to make “damn sure” it’s eliminated? Seven sisters in Burien, Washington, asked the Washington Supreme Court to answer these questions. The Strobel sisters petitioned the Court to…

  • Arizona Corporate Tax Credit Scholarships

    Arizona Parents Defend School Choice From Education Establishment’s Third Legal Attack

    On October 27, 2009, the Arizona Supreme Court refused to consider a legal challenge to Arizona’s Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit Program, thus ending school choice opponents’ most recent effort to block school choice in the Grand Canyon state.  The ACLU of Arizona and the Arizona School Boards Association filed the suit in an effort to…

  • 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 to search the home of a suspected criminal.

  • Red Wing Minnesota Trash Hauling

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Challenging Red Wing’s Anti-Competitive Trash Cartel

    The City of Red Wing, Minn., has unconstitutionally turned its local government into a special interest protected from competition. On August 28, 2006, the City Council adopted an ordinance that forces all private commercial trash haulers to use the City incinerator for 10 years, effective January 1, 2007, as a condition of doing business in…

  • Didden

    Supreme Court refused to hear case about eminent domain abuse in New York

    With the blessing of officials from the Village of Port Chester, a politically connected developer approached Didden and his partner with an offer they couldn’t refuse.  Because Didden planned to build a CVS on his property—land the developer coveted for a Walgreens—the developer demanded $800,000 from Didden to make him “go away” or ordered Didden…

  • Arizona Special Needs & Foster Care

    Arizona Foster Parents and Parents of Children with Disabilities Defend School Choice From Unprecedented Legal Attack

    A coalition of special interest groups filed its second legal challenge to Arizona’s school choice programs for special needs and foster children on February 20, 2007.  The Arizona Supreme Court rejected the first challenge in January 2007, and once again, IJ is intervening to defend the programs on behalf of parents. Unfortunately, on March 25,…

  • Minneapolis Taxis

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Defending Minneapolis’ Free-Market Taxi Reforms Against an Establishment Backlash

    Private companies cannot use government power to outlaw competition, yet this is precisely what the established taxi cartel in Minneapolis tried to do. In October 2006, the city removed an artificial government-imposed cap on the number of taxis legally permitted to operate within city limits. The new ordinance increased the number of taxicabs on the…

  • St. Louis Signs

    Signs of Abuse: Fighting Censorship and Eminent Domain Abuse in St. Louis

    In a double blow to free speech and property rights, St. Louis not only threatened to take an entire neighborhood for private development. It also tried to censor a powerful mural that protests the city’s eminent domain abuse.

  • Texas Interior Design

    Challenging Texas’ Licensing of Speech For Interior Designers

    Vickee Byrum is an interior designer, but, remarkably, the State of Texas insists that she keep that fact a secret. While anyone in Texas may legally provide interior design services, state law dictates that only those with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers” or use the words “interior design” to describe what they do.…

  • Arizona San Tan Flat

    Footloose 2008?: Local Entrepreneur & Institute for Justice Challenge Dance Ban in Pinal County, Ariz.

    Dale Bell just wanted to run his family business with his son, but Pinal County’s ridiculous obsession with dancing stood in the way of his American Dream. Dale and his son Spencer opened San Tan Flat, a popular Country & Western restaurant, in Pinal County, Arizona in 2005.  Shortly thereafter, County officials dusted off an…

  • Wisconsin Gas

    Fighting Wisconsin’s Ban on Cheap Gas: Entrepreneur Joins the Institute for Justice To Challenge Mandatory Minimum Markup Law

    While consumers across the nation are struggling with high gas prices, Wisconsin’s state government is working to make those prices even higher by quashing competition. In 2006, small businessman Raj Bhandari purchased a gas station on the verge of bankruptcy. He quickly turned the business around, in part by offering high quality service at competitive…

  • Texas Equine Dentistry

    Challenging Texas’ Elitist Veterinary Cartel

    Independent and self-reliant Texans have been taking care of their horses for a long time without unnecessary government meddling. But bureaucrats in Austin have concocted a monopolistic licensing scheme to protect a cartel of veterinarians that puts Texas entrepreneurs out of work while forcing horse owners to pay more for lower-quality care. The Texas State…

  • National City Eminent Domain

    Knocking Out Eminent Domain Abuse: Youth Gym Files Suit Against National City, Calif.

    After decades of keeping two-thirds of the city under a bogus “blight” designation, National City, Calif., applied to renew the blight label to prevent it from expiring. That renewal would have reauthorized the city to abuse eminent domain against the nearly 700 properties in the designated area, including a gym for at-risk youth.

  • SpeechNow.org

    SpeechNow.org v. FEC Protecting Americans’ Rights To Organize and Speak About Politics

    SpeechNow.org is a new group of Americans formed to protect the First Amendment at the ballot box.  But before SpeechNow.org could independently advocate for or against candidates based on their stand on free speech, it had to endure a legal struggle that lasted almost two-and-a-half years to secure its own constitutional rights. Represented by the…

  • Texas Equine Dentistry (2nd Challenge)

    A Second Challenge to Texas’ Elitist Veterinary Cartel

    Independent and self-reliant Texans have been taking care of their horses for a long time without unnecessary government meddling.  But bureaucrats in Austin have concocted a monopolistic licensing scheme that has been well-documented by national outlets such as The Economist as nothing more than an attempt to protect a cartel of state-licensed veterinarians by putting Texas entrepreneurs…

  • Maryland Animal Massage

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Freeing Maryland Entrepreneurs From the Chiropractic and Veterinary Cartels

    Mercedes Clemens was a Maryland entrepreneur with a thriving massage practice in Rockville that offered both human and animal massage.  In addition to being a licensed massage therapist, Mercedes had more than 30 years of practical experience as a horse owner and rider, had been certified in equine massage—a growing practice that can alleviate physical…

  • Texas Computer Repair

    Texas Government-mandated Computer Repair License Does Not Compute

    Texas now demands that every computer repair technician in the entire state acquire a private investigator’s license to repair a computer.  To get that license, you are required to have a degree in criminal justice or perform a three-year apprenticeship under a licensed private investigator.  If you perform certain repairs without a private investigator’s license,…

  • Clarksville, TN Eminent Domain Protest

    Vindicating the Right to Protest Eminent Domain Abuse: Tennesseans Sued by Thin-Skinned Politician and Developers Fight Back

    Richard Swift and Wayne Wilkinson are developers in Clarksville, Tenn., who are using the power of government to benefit developers—and they sued citizens, demanding $500,000, simply for saying so. The Clarksville Property Rights Coalition, a grassroots group formed to fight the eminent domain abuse, ran an ad in the local newspaper criticizing elected officials and…

  • Philadelphia Tour Guides

    Grassroots Tyranny in the Cradle of the Constitution: Philadelphia Tour Guides Stand Up For the Framers’ Vision of Freedom

    Effective in October 2008, tour guides in Philadelphia will be subject to hundreds of dollars in fines for engaging in unauthorized talking.  A law enacted April 2008 will make it illegal for anyone to give a tour of much of the city’s downtown area without first getting the government’s permission to speak. The irony of…

  • Nashville, TN Eminent Domain

    Taking Music Out of Music City: Nashville Abuses Eminent Domain To Take Small Country Music Business For an Office Building

    In June 2008, Nashville’s redevelopment agency filed a condemnation action against a small country music business located on storied Music Row.  Along with trying to take the building, the city also took a little bit of its soul in the process.  Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) wanted to give the property that houses…

  • Connecticut Interior Design

    Challenging Connecticut’s Licensing of Speech For Interior Designers

    Susan Roberts is an interior designer, but the state of Connecticut will not allow her to tell anyone that.  This is because Connecticut has a law that allows anyone to perform interior design services, but dictates that only those with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers.”  Besides unconstitutionally censoring truthful commercial speech, “titling laws”…

  • Oklahoma Interior Design

    Challenging Oklahoma's Licensing of Speech For Interior Designers

    In Oklahoma, only individuals with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers.” Besides unconstitutionally censoring truthful commercial speech, “titling laws” like Oklahoma’s serve as precursors to full-blown occupational licensure, which is the ultimate goal of a small faction within the interior design industry led by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Only three other…

  • Besides unconstitutionally censoring truthful commercial speech, “titling laws” serve as precursors to full-blown occupational licensure, which is the ultimate goal of a small faction within the interior design industry led by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Four states license the use of the term “interior designer” without regulating the work itself.  The anti-competitive…

  • Florida Political Speech

    Taking on Florida’s Political Speech Police: Challenging Campaign Finance Laws That Create a Statewide “No Speech Zone”

    In May of 2009, the Institute for Justice secured a federal court decision striking down Florida’s so-called “electioneering communications” law.  That law made it illegal for any group to merely mention a candidate or ballot issue, let alone express an opinion, without registering with the state as an “electioneering communications organization.”  Once registered, groups had…

  • St. Paul Minn. Property Rights

    Beyond Its Authority: Eminent Domain Abuse By the St. Paul Port Authority

    In one of Minnesota’s most hotly contested battles over eminent domain, St. Paul-based Advance Shoring Company is now safe from condemnation by the St. Paul Port Authority. Following stiff opposition from the nearly 50-year-old company, its employees, unions and the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter, the Port Authority decided not to use eminent domain to…

  • Texas Eminent Domain Censorship

    Dangerous Trend: Bulldozing Free Speech

    In perhaps the most striking example of a disturbing national trend, Dallas developer H. Walker Royall sued to silence anyone who dared to criticize his abuse of eminent domain. Similar suits have been filed in Tennessee, Missouri and elsewhere by developers and governments looking to silence critics of eminent domain for private gain. When the…

  • Washington Special Needs Discrimination

    Freeing Special Needs Children From Religious Discrimination in Washington State: IJ-Washington Tackles Blaine Amendments That Limit School Choice and Educational Opportunity

    For years, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Washington offered special education services to children in both public and private schools—everyone except those whose parents chose religious schools.  Children in religious schools were forced to travel off-site to some “nonsectarian” location to receive services, which was burdensome and disruptive for special needs kids,…

  • Florida Interior Design

    Free to Design: Challenging Florida’s Unconstitutional Interior Design Law

    Florida is ground zero in the nationwide battle to cartelize the interior design industry. A small group of well-funded industry insiders led by the American Society of Interior Designers has been relentless in its pursuit of ever more restrictive laws. Studies have shown that interior design regulations result in higher prices, less variety, and fewer…

  • San Juan Vending

    Vindicating the Right to Earn an Honest Living in the Evergreen State: Local Entrepreneur & Institute for Justice challenge San Juan County Vending Ordinance

    Too often, government officials are more concerned about protecting special interests than they are the rights of entrepreneurs.  That was the case in San Juan County, Wash., where the County council passed a law designed to shut down hardworking entrepreneur Gary Franco, a longtime produce vendor. The ordinance, passed at the behest of politically connected…

  • Dallas Sign Ban

    Dallas Sign Ban Hurts Small Businesses, Violates First Amendment Rights: Law Makes It Nearly Impossible For Entrepreneurs to Advertise

    Businesses have a First Amendment right to communicate truthful information.  Almost no government would dare to pass a law that restricted the ability of businesses to honestly advertise their products and services in newspapers, on the radio or on television. Yet local regulation of window signage has expanded, over the past 30 years, to unprecedented levels—levels…

  • Virginia Yoga Challenge

    Teaching is Not a Crime: Challenging Virginia’s Unconstitutional Vocational School Licensing Law

    In Virginia, you can teach anyone anything—except how to earn an honest living. Anyone in Virginia can do yoga, and anyone can teach yoga.  But, incredibly, it is illegal to teach people to teach yoga.  Yoga-teacher training is just the latest target of vocational school licensing laws that require countless entrepreneurs to ask the government’s…

  • Texas Eyebrow Threading

    Hanging by a Thread: Texas Eyebrow Threaders Fight Irrational Licensing

    Eyebrow threading is a booming industry in Texas. But state bureaucrats are making it difficult for individuals to continue practicing this ancient art.

  • Bone Marrow—NOTA Challenge

    Saving Lives: Challenging the Federal Ban on Compensating Bone Marrow Donors

    Every year, nearly 3,000 Americans die because they cannot find a matching bone marrow donor.  Minorities are hit especially hard.  Common sense suggests that offering modest incentives to attract more bone marrow donors would be worth pursuing, but federal law makes that a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. That is why…

  • Louisiana Florists (new challenge)

    Freeing Louisiana Florists: Licensing Law is Blooming Nonsense

    Until four Louisiana florists teamed with the Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit, Louisiana was the only state in the nation that required would-be entrepreneurs to pass a licensing exam before they could create and sell floral arrangements.  Only a few months after filing a civil rights lawsuit, Chauvin v. Strain, in the U.S.…

  • Texas Forfeiture

    Ending “Policing for Profit” in Texas: Constitutional Lawsuit Challenges Texas Law Allowing Forfeiture Abuse

    Texas has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the nation, as demonstrated by an Institute for Justice report, Policing for Profit:  The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture.  Texas law establishes a trifecta of circumstances that invite forfeiture abuse.  First, Texas allows law enforcement agencies to police for profit—to seize and sell property then return…

  • Washington Grassroots Lobbying

    Protecting Americans’ Right To Engage In Grassroots Political Activism

    There are few things more distinctly American than grassroots political activism.  From town hall meetings and statehouse rallies to talk radio, blogs and meetups, Americans are constantly finding new and innovative ways to participate in politics.  Through such activities, people can alert elected officials to constituents’ preferences, educate fellow citizens and make their voices heard,…

  • Minnesota Small Farms

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Freeing Small Farms through Free Trade

    Farmers should not be threatened with 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees grown outside city limits. Yet that was the law in Lake Elmo, Minn.  On December 1, 2009, the Lake Elmo City Council declared that it would begin enforcing a law that forbids farmers from selling…

  • Louisiana Caskets

    Free the Monks and Free Enterprise: Challenging Louisiana’s Casket Cartel

    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 state board moved to shut down the monks’ fledgling business before it sold even one casket because it was…

  • D.C. Tour Guides

    License to Describe: Challenging Washington D.C.’s Tour-Guide Licensing Scheme

    The First Amendment protects everyone who talks for a living, whether they’re journalists, professors or tour guides.

  • Florida Citizen Speech

    Protecting Citizen Speech: Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality Of Florida Campaign Finance Regulations Kicks Off Nationwide Campaign

    Should the government have the power to regulate who can express their opinion during an election? Or to subject grassroots political activists to regulations that are so onerous, the U.S. Supreme Court has found them unconstitutionally burdensome even for corporations and unions? Nathan Worley, Pat Wayman, John Scolaro and Robin Stublen—four political activists from around…

  • Shirlington Dog Park Mural

    IJ Fights to Unleash Free Speech: Challenging Arlington, Virginia’s Unconstitutional Sign Ordinance

    No one should have to choose between their right to speak and their right to earn an honest living.  And the First Amendment does not let government officials play art critic. Kim Houghton is the owner of Wag More Dogs, a canine boarding and grooming facility in Arlington, Va.  Long a fan of the dog…

  • El Paso Vending

    El Paso Mobile Food Vendors Challenge City’s Effort to Run Them Out of Town

    Should the city of El Paso, Texas, be allowed to turn itself into a No-Vending Zone in order to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from competition? The Institute for Justice sought an answer to this question in a major federal lawsuit filed January 26, 2011 on behalf of four El Paso mobile food vendors. This lawsuit launched…

  • Georgia Forfeiture

    Shining the Light on Law Enforcement Slush Funds: Lawsuit Seeks to Force Georgia Police to Follow the Law and Report Property Seized Through Civil Forfeiture

    Civil forfeiture threatens the property rights of all Americans.  These laws allow the police to seize your home, car, cash or other property upon the mere suspicion that it has been used or involved in criminal activity. Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country.  But, in an attempt to at…

  • Nashville Limos

    Drive to Freedom: Nashville’s Sedan Drivers Fight City Effort To Run Them Off the Road

    Can government force transportation businesses to charge a minimum price to protect politically connected companies from competition? That is the question the Institute for Justice (IJ) and its clients sought to answer in a federal court challenge to Nashville’s limousine and sedan regulations. Until 2010, sedan and independent limo services in Nashville were an affordable…

  • Utah Hair Braiding

    Brushing Out Utah’s African Hair Braiding Laws

    Jestina Clayton began braiding hair during her childhood in Sierra Leone, where braiding is a part of the cultural heritage, and has been braiding hair for most of her life. Jestina brought this special skill with her to the United States after fleeing from the Sierra Leone civil war. In 2006, Jestina, then a college…

  • Washington Recall

    Campaign Finance Laws versus Good Government: Washington’s Laws Frustrate the People’s Ability to Recall Abusive Elected Officials

    What began in Washington state as a recall effort to remove a questionable local politician from office has now grown into a campaign finance fight with nationwide implications. A federal lawsuit filed on June 7, 2011, in Tacoma, Wash., by the Institute for Justice on behalf of a grassroots activist and her volunteer attorneys spotlights…

  • Douglas Co., Colorado’s Scholarship Program

    Defending Parents’ Right to Choose Their Children’s Schools: Douglas County, Colorado’s Innovative Scholarship Program Is Constitutional

    In Colorado, Douglas County created an innovative school choice program that offers modest scholarships to hundreds of students at a fraction of the cost of getting a public school education.

  • Arizona Eyebrow Threading

    Will Arizona Courts Leave Protection of Individual Liberty Threadbare?: Arizona Eyebrow Threaders Fight Irrational Licensing Scheme

    Eyebrow threading is very popular in Arizona.  Threading is a natural and safe method of hair removal that uses a single strand of cotton thread to remove unwanted hair, most commonly from the eyebrows, with no chemicals, dyes, hot wax or sharp objects.  But state officials have decided that threaders cannot practice their trade without…

  • Indiana School Choice

    IJ Successfully Defended Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program

    The Institute for Justice successfully defended Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program from the lawsuit filed against it by a group of taxpayers represented by the National Education Association.  In March of 2013, the Institute, along with the Indiana Solicitor General, secured a unanimous decision from the Indiana Supreme Court holding that the program does not violate…

  • Atlanta Vending

    Atlanta Strikes: Out Challenging Atlanta, Georgia’s Unconstitutional Vending Monopoly

    For generations, street vending has been a classic way to succeed with only a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed.  It is a path that cities should encourage, particularly in these tough economic times.  But rather than fostering entrepreneurship and opportunity, Atlanta has done its best to smother it. Larry Miller and Stanley…

  • Arizona Education Savings

    Defending Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts: Parents of Special Needs Children Must Again Defend Their Right to Choose Their Children’s Educational Options

    In 2011, teachers’ unions in Arizona filed a lawsuit seeking to block the nation’s first publicly funded education savings account program, a program that awards qualified parents of children with disabilities Empowerment Scholarships that can be used to pay for a wide variety of educational expenses, including tutoring, home school curriculum, private school tuition and…

  • Milwaukee Taxis

    Taking on the Taxi Cartel Challenging Milwaukee’s Unconstitutional Taxicab Law

    Private companies cannot use governmental power to outlaw competition, yet this is what the city of Milwaukee did for its established taxi cartel. Until the Institute for Justice won its lawsuit against the city, Milwaukee allowed only 321 taxicabs on its streets—almost half of which are owned by a single owner.  That is about one cab…

  • Massachusetts Forfeiture

    Fighting Civil Forfeiture Abuse: Federal & Local Law Enforcement Agencies Try to Take Family Motel from Innocent Owners

    Imagine you own a million-dollar piece of property free and clear, but then the federal government and local law enforcement agents announce that they are going to take it from you, not compensate you one dime, and then use the money they get from selling your land to pad their budgets—all this even though you…

  • Hialeah Vending

    Vindicating the Right to Earn an Honest Living Under the Florida Constitution: IJ Files Suit on Behalf of Vendors in Hialeah, Fla.

    Street vendors are a core part of the American Dream. But Hialeah, Fla., needlessly makes it difficult for street vendors to earn an honest living.

  • Lake Chelan Ferries

    Charting a New Course for Economic Liberty: Challenging Lake Chelan’s Government-Imposed Ferry Monopoly Under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause

    Jim and Cliff Courtney have a plan to bring economic prosperity to their small community. Unfortunately, the state of Washington has sunk their plan with a law that requires them to obtain a certificate of “public convenience and necessity” from the state in order to pick up and drop off passengers.

  • Mississippi Citizen Speech

    Protecting Citizen Speech: Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Mississippi Campaign Finance Regulations Continues Nationwide Campaign

    Thanks to Mississippi’s burdensome campaign finance laws, groups of concerned citizens need more than just their opinions to speak about politics. They also need a lawyer.

  • Minnesota Rental Caps

    Slamming the Door on Rental Bans: Winona Homeowners Stand Up for Their Property Rights

    Government officials in Winona, Minn., are imposing a restriction on the number of homeowners who can rent out their properties, harming both homeowners and renters alike. Not only is this policy unwise, it is also unconstitutional.

  • Fountain Hills, Ariz. Speech

    Arizona Citizen Files First Amendment Lawsuit Challenging Speech Regulations

    Arizona wants to bar people from joining together to protest local ballot measures without first registering with the government.

  • Connecticut Teeth Whitening

    A Reason to Smile in the Constitution State: Entrepreneurs Challenge Connecticut’s Teeth-Whitening Monopoly

    Connecticut’s prohibition on non-dentist teeth whitening was never about protecting consumers; it was about protecting dentists from honest competition.

  • NOLA Tours

    Challenging New Orleans’ Tour-Guide Licensing Scheme

    In New Orleans, it is a crime to charge people for a talking tour without first getting permission from the government. City officials require every tour guide to pass a history exam, undergo a drug test and an FBI criminal background check every two years merely for speaking. People who give tours without a license…

  • Minnesota Embalming Rooms

    Putting Useless Government Requirements to Rest: Challenging Minnesota’s Requirement That All Funeral Homes Have Embalming Rooms

    Verlin Stoll is a 27-year-old entrepreneurial dynamo who owns Crescent Tide funeral home in Saint Paul, Minn. Verlin has built a successful business because he offers low-cost funerals while providing high-quality service. His business is also one of the only funeral homes that benefits low-income families who cannot afford the high prices of the big…

  • IRS Tax Preparers

    A Successful Challenge to the IRS’s Authority To License Tax Preparers

    IJ successfully challenged the IRS’s authority to license tax return preparers. If the licensing scheme had not been struck down, some 350,000 tax return preparers would have been burdened by the new regulations, much to the benefit of entrenched special interests.

  • Portland Sedans

    Protectionism in Portland, Ore.: City Threatened $895,000 in Fines For Limo Entrepreneurs Who Offered Groupon Discounts

    Portland, Ore., cannot constitutionally set transportation prices and make limousine and sedan customers wait for service merely to protect taxis from competition.

  • Norfolk, VA Sign

    Federal Appellate Court OKs City’s Crackdown on Protest Sign:
 4th Circuit fails to protect Norfolk business’ eminent domain protest banner; lawyers, business owners vow appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

    In a double blow to free speech and property rights, Norfolk, Va., tried not only to take a thriving business through its power of eminent domain but also censor a highly visible sign that protested the unlawful condemnation.

  • North Carolina Free Speech

    Caveman Blogger Fights for Free Speech and Internet Freedom: Challenging the Government’s Authority to Censor Ordinary Advice

    This caveman blogger fought for free speech and Internet freedom.

  • Virginia Certificate of Need

    CON Job: How A Virginia Law Enriches Established Businesses by Limiting Your Medical Options, and How IJ Is Going to Stop It.

    Virginia’s certificate of need program actually makes it illegal to offer new medical services or purchase certain types of medical equipment without first obtaining a special permission slip from the government.

  • Nevada Makeup

    Putting a New Face on Liberty: Nevada Makeup Artists Fight for Their Right to Teach

    The government cannot require teachers to spend hundreds of hours in a classroom to learn skills that have nothing to do with what they teach.

  • Louisiana School Choice

    Louisiana Federation of Teachers, et al v State of Louisiana, et al

    In 2012, Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law Act 2, an innovative effort to improve elementary and secondary education in Louisiana by giving parents more choices in the education of their children. The statewide voucher scholarship program allowed low income families with children assigned to underperforming and failing public schools to apply for state scholarships…

  • Chicago Food Trucks

    Sweet Home Chicago?: Food Trucks Get the Cold Shoulder in the Windy City

    Chicago shouldn’t be in the business of protecting restaurants from food trucks.

  • New Hampshire Business Tax Credit Scholarship Program

    IJ Defends School Choice in New Hampshire

    On August 28, 2014, the Institute for Justice successfully defended New Hampshire’s scholarship program from a constitutional challenge at the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  As a result, low-income families across the state can continue to enjoy school choice for their children. New Hampshire’s Business Tax Credit Scholarship Program offers local businesses a partial tax credit…

  • Texas Veterinary Speech

    Retired Texas Vet’s Free-Speech Fight to Keep Helping Animals

    The First Amendment should apply to licensed professionals who give advice over the Internet.

  • Alabama Teeth Whitening

    Alabama Smiles: Entrepreneurs Fight Back Against Teeth-Whitening Monopolies

    Alabama’s prohibition on non-dentist teeth whitening has nothing to do with protecting consumers and everything to do with protecting monopoly profits for dentists.

  • California Forfeiture

    Fighting Civil Forfeiture: Federal & Local Law Enforcement Agencies Team Up to Profit by Subverting California State Law

    No one in America should have their property taken from them by law enforcement officials without first being convicted of a crime.  And yet, Tony Jalali stood to lose his entire commercial building in Anaheim, California even though he was never charged with any wrongdoing. In August, 2012, the federal government and the City of Anaheim…

  • Washington Recall 2: Lawyer Free Speech

    Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission vs. America’s Civil Rights Laws: Government Agency Seeks to Silence Not Only Citizen Activists, But Their Public Interest Lawyers, Too

    A government agency whose job it is to limit political debate is now seeking to drastically restrict free civil rights advocacy—advocacy that has guided our nation in living up to its ideals of freedom and justice.

  • Kentucky Psychology Speech

    Psychology Board Censors Advice Column: America’s Longest-Running Advice Columnist Files Free Speech Lawsuit After Being Threatened with Jail and Told to Stop Publishing His Column in Kentucky

    John Rosemond’s lawsuit defends freedom of speech and freedom of the press from government officials who believe that it can be a crime in America to express an opinion in a newspaper.

  • Sacramento Signs

    Sacramento Sign Police Target Small Business: Gym Tells City It Needs To Get With The Program

    Businesses need to advertise to survive. For small businesses, signs are their most effective and least expensive option. But the City of Sacramento banned businesses from using sandwich boards, banners, and other portable signs and enforced its ban against the owners of a small independent gym, Carl and Elizabeth Fears. Without their sandwich board, the…

  • Tampa Minimum Fares

    Hillsborough County Transportation Commission vs. Consumers, a Driver and a Small Business: Government Commission Forces Consumers to Pay More; Prevents Competition and Job Creation

    The Public Transportation Commission in Hillsborough County, Fla., forces customers to overpay for limousine services and prevents small business owners from offering better deals to potential customers.

  • Michigan Forfeiture

    Taken: Federal Lawsuit in Michigan Challenges Forfeiture Abuse

    Without warning, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize all of the money from the Dehkos’ store bank account—more than $35,000—even though they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.

  • Texas Hair Braiding Instruction

    Should African hair braiders have to build an entire barber college and become barbering instructors just to teach hair braiding? Texas officials think so.

    Texas tried to force natural hair braiding schools to convert into fully-equipped barber colleges—solely to teach hair braiding—even though braiders aren’t barbers.

  • Alabama School Choice

    Alabama Parents Join Legal Battle To Protect School Choice

    Alabama has created a unique, refundable tax credit program that offers a lifeline to families to help them escape failing public schools if they lack the financial resources to do so.

  • Florida Vegetable Gardens

    An Affront To Gardeners Everywhere: Miami Shores Forces Homeowners To Destroy Their Front-Yard Vegetable Garden

    Miami Shores Village, Fla.’s unconstitutional ban on front-yard vegetable gardens prohibits homeowners from growing vegetables in their front yards. But trees, fruit and garden gnomes are just fine.

  • Minnesota Cottage Foods

    Baked Fresh, Baked Free: Challenging Minnesota’s Restrictions on Selling Home-Baked Goods

    Minnesota has slammed the oven door on bakers trying to make a home-based business out of satisfying Minnesotans’ sweet tooth.

  • Oregon Raw Milk

    Got Free Speech? Oregon Dairy Farmer Challenges Censorship of Raw Milk Advertising

    In Oregon, it was perfectly legal for Christine Anderson, owner of Cast Iron Farm, about an hour outside of Portland, to sell raw—that is, unpasteurized—milk . . . so long as she did not talk about it. That was because the state flatly banned the advertisement of this lawful product. That meant Christine was prohibited…

  • North Carolina School Choice

    North Carolina Parents Join Legal Battle To Defend School Choice Program

    Through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, North Carolina is giving low-income families the same educational choices that wealthier families already enjoy.

  • Arizona Animal Massage

    Animal Massage Therapists Now Free to Practice Their Craft in Arizona

    Massage therapists do not need a medical degree to massage humans, but entrepreneurs who want to massage animals in Arizona must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend four years of veterinary school where they are not even required to learn animal massage.

  • Chicago Ridesharing

    Ridesharing Drivers Fight Back; Join Lawsuit to Challenge Chicago’s Cab Cartels

    Armed with little more than their smartphones and cars, a small group of entrepreneurs are driving innovation in an industry that has been dominated by a cartel of cab owners and a regulatory framework originally drafted in the early 20th century.

  • Georgia Teeth Whitening

    Teeth-Whitening Entrepreneur Challenges Dentists’ Monopoly in Georgia

    In Georgia, entrepreneurs who offer teeth-whitening services can be charged with a felony, imprisoned for up to five years and fined thousands of dollars. Their crime? Selling the exact same teeth-whitening product sold in stores.

  • Minnesota Campaign Speech Limits

    Donors, Candidates Sue to Overturn Restrictive Campaign Finance Law: Minnesota Regulation Dishes Out First Amendment Rights on a First-Come, First-Served Basis

    A Minnesota regulation dishes out First Amendment rights on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Georgia’s school choice program gives thousands of parents an opportunity to find a school that best fits their children’s needs without using a single cent of state funds.

  • Atlantic City Eminent Domain – Birnbaum

    Charlie's Home: How the Institute for Justice is helping one man fight To save his family home

    An Atlantic City, N.J., man is fighting to save his family home from a state agency’s eminent domain abuse.

  • Arkansas Dentistry

    Access Denied: Orthodontist’s Low-Cost Teeth Cleaning Program Shut Down Under Archaic Law That Limits Access to Care

    Arkansas flat-out bans licensed dental specialists, like orthodontists, from doing even simple dental work outside of their specialty.

  • Washington Hair Braiding 2

    Untangling Entrepreneurs from Washington’s Illogical Restrictions on African Hair Braiding

    Almost a decade after IJ successfully sued Washington state over its irrational hair braiding laws, officials once again tried to force natural hair braiders to become licensed cosmetologists.

  • Arkansas Hair Braiding

    Untangling Entrepreneurs from Arkansas' African Braiding Laws

    Hair braiding is a simple and safe practice that the government has no business regulating. But in Arkansas, braiders may not sell their services unless they complete 1,500 hours of government-mandated cosmetology training, not one hour of which actually teaches how to braid hair.

  • Missouri Hair Braiding

    Untangling Entrepreneurs from Missouri’s Cosmetology Laws

    If you want to braid hair for a living in Missouri, you must spend thousands of dollars on at least 1,500 hours of cosmetology training that teaches you nothing about African-style hair braiding.

  • Philadelphia Forfeiture

    Fighting the Philadelphia Forfeiture Machine: Philadelphia Deprives People of Their Rights While Trying to Forfeit and Profit from Their Property

    Police and prosecutors use civil forfeiture to strip thousands of Americans of their rights and property. Nowhere is the problem more rampant than in Philadelphia‬.

  • Milwaukee Taxis 2

    Cabbies Fight for Freedom: Victorious Cab Drivers Head Back to Court for Second Showdown with Milwaukee’s Taxi Cartel

    In response to an IJ lawsuit, Milwaukee lifted its cap on the number of taxis. But the city’s powerful taxi cartel sued to block this reform. Now two cab drivers have again joined with IJ to ensure that the new ordinance takes effect and that they are free to own their own cabs.

  • Despite being on the books for over a decade, two school choice programs in Florida came under attack during a broad legal challenge to the state’s educational system. An outside advocacy group who sued Florida seeking more money for public education amended their lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Florida’s popular Tax Credit Scholarship and…

  • Iowa Forfeiture

    TAKEN: Feds Seize Family Restaurant’s Entire Bank Account Innocent Owners Fight Back

    The IRS seized Carole’s money using civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agencies to take cash, cars and other property without so much as charging the property owner with a crime.

  • Long Island Forfeiture

    HELD UP: Feds Use Civil Forfeiture To Seize More than $446,000 From Innocent Family Business; Deny Hearing for More than Two Years.

    The Hirsch brothers have done nothing wrong, yet the IRS seized their entire bank account.

  • Savannah Tour Guides

    Government Cannot Decide Who Is, Or Is Not, Allowed To Tell A Story

    Tour guides are storytellers, and the government can’t be in the business of deciding who is (or who is not) allowed to tell stories.

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Texas Craft Beer

    Beer Bounty: Texas Craft Brewers Sue Over New Law That Requires Them to Give Part of Their Businesses to Distributors for Free

    A Texas law is forcing craft brewers to give up millions of dollars of valuable property to politically connected beer distributors.

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Structuring Petitions

    IJ to IRS: Give Back This Money

    The message from the Institute for Justice, which represents Ken and Randy, to the IRS is simple: If you’ve taken something that doesn’t belong to you, give it back.

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Nevada School Choice

    Nevada Parents Stand Up for School Choice and Join Lawsuit to Defend ESA Program

    After enacting the most expansive and innovative school choice program in the nation Nevada’s Education Saving Account (ESA) Program was immediately challenged in court. The program allows any student who has attended a public school for at least 100 days to receive a flexible, $5,000 grant from the state to be used for educational expenses.…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Iowa Hair Braiding

    Breaking Down Government Barriers to African-Style Hair Braiding in Iowa

    African-style hair braiding is a common and safe practice that has been around for ages. It also offers exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs in African-American and African immigrant communities. Yet to braid hair for a living in Iowa, the state forced braiders to spend thousands of dollars and hours for cosmetology training—training that had nothing to…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • New Mexico Forfeiture

    This Ends Now: Enforcing New Mexico’s Landmark Civil Forfeiture Reform To Shut Down The Albuquerque Forfeiture Machine

    NOTE: This page is for IJ’s first challenge to Albuquerque’s civil forfeiture program. This challenge ended in May 2016. For information on IJ’s current, ongoing challenge to Albuquerque’s program click here. In New Mexico, civil forfeiture is big business. Cities across the state run forfeiture programs that rake in millions of dollars. The City of…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Wisconsin Baked Good Ban

    Wisconsin Farmers Challenge State Ban on Selling Home-Baked Goods

    Selling home-baked goods is now legal for the first time in Wisconsin, thanks to a successful lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice and their clients, Lisa Kivirist, Kriss Marion, and Dela Ends. Before the lawsuit, it was illegal to sell even one cookie without first obtaining a license and spending tens of thousands of…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Colorado Private Enforcement

    Colorado’s private-enforcement law empowers political insiders to silence any ordinary speaker they disagree with.

    In September 2015, Tammy Holland—a small-town mom in rural Colorado—took out two ads in her local newspaper.  The ads alerted readers to an upcoming school-board election and urged voters to familiarize themselves with all the candidates. For that act of civic engagement, Tammy found herself sued—twice—by school-board officials. This was possible because Colorado outsourced enforcement…

  • Charleston Tour Guides

    Charleston Tour Guides Challenge Unconstitutional License to Talk

    There are thousands of stories to be told about Charleston, South Carolina. From the horrors of the slave trade to the city’s rise as a culinary center, from the depredations of Blackbeard the pirate to the city’s long tradition as a home for the armed forces, the city’s history can be viewed from a nearly…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Little Rock Taxis

    City Established a Monopoly for the Only Taxi Business in Town, Preventing Competition and Prohibiting Consumer Choice

    The City of Little Rock had only one taxi business, and it was illegal to start a second one. Little Rock’s government had completely forgotten that the right to choose which taxi to hire belongs to customers, and the government does not get to make this choice for them. Yet that is exactly what Little…

  • Alabama Caskets

    Burying Alabama’s Casket-Sales Cartel

    Entrepreneur Shelia (pronounced the same as “Sheila”) Champion has staked her retirement savings on an innovative business just outside her rural Alabama hometown that she hopes will help the world as much as change it. Shelia has opened The Good Earth Burial Ground in Hazel Green, which provides inexpensive, environmentally-friendly interments in a wild, untended…

  • Douglas County Religious Exclusion

    Parents Sue over Limiting Families’ Options under New School Choice Program

    The Institute for Justice (IJ) filed a federal civil rights action to vindicate the rights of three Douglas County families after the Board of Education for Douglas County, Colorado, adopted a School Choice Grant Program that barred religious schools from the program. Thus, a student could not use her grant to attend a religious school,…

  • Muskogee Forfeiture

    Broken Brake Light Leads to Oklahoma Sheriff Taking Tens of Thousands of Dollars From Burmese Christian Band, Church, and Orphanage

    In 2016, the Institute for Justice (IJ) stopped Muskogee County law enforcement from using Oklahoma’s egregious civil forfeiture laws to take money from Thai orphans and Christian Burmese refugees. A group of Karen Christians from Burma and Thailand partnered with IJ to challenge the civil forfeiture of more than $53,000 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The seized…

  • Baltimore Vending

    Food Truck Entrepreneurs Sue City Over Vending Law

    Joey Vanoni and Nikki McGowan Marks are Baltimore-area mobile vending entrepreneurs. Joey is a Navy veteran and the owner of Pizza di Joey, a New York-style brick oven pizza food truck. The truck gives Joey the opportunity to not only serve delicious slices, but to also hire his fellow veterans. Nikki is the owner of…

  • Connecticut Forfeiture

    IRS Seizes First, Questions Later— Much Later

    In May 2013, the IRS seized more than $68,000 from Vocatura’s Bakery—a third-generation family business located in Norwich, Connecticut—because they claimed the owners violated so-called “structuring” laws by depositing cash in the bakery’s bank account in amounts less than $10,000. Three years later, the government still had the bakery’s money, although it had never brought…

  • Dallas Amortization

    Dallas Auto Mechanic Challenges Constitutionality of Retroactive Zoning

    For more than 30 years, Hinga Mbogo fixed the cars of Dallas residents at his shop on Ross Avenue. An immigrant from Kenya, Hinga came to this country and fell in love with Dallas. He opened his shop, Hinga’s Automotive, in 1986 and became one of the city’s most trusted and beloved mechanics. The city…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Colorado Lawyer Free Speech

    Recent Court of Appeals Ruling Disarms Political Speakers, Empowers Campaign Finance Bullies

    In 2012, Coloradans for a Better Future (CBF) ran two radio ads in the Republican primary for the Colorado University Board of Regents race. One ad supported candidate Brian Davidson; the other opposed candidate Matthew Arnold. Months after he lost the race, Arnold started suing CBF. After three of these lawsuits, CBF—with the help of…

  • Alabama Right to Petition

    Alabama prohibits nonprofit worker from speaking and petitioning the government unless she first flies to Alabama to take a government-mandated ethics class

    Can Alabama condition your exercise of First Amendment rights on classroom attendance? That’s the question raised by a First Amendment challenge to an unusual Alabama law that required all registered lobbyists to physically attend an ethics class offered only four times a year—and only in Montgomery, Alabama. When people think “lobbyist,” someone like Maggie Ellinger-Locke…

  • Albuquerque Forfeiture

    Enforcing Landmark Civil Forfeiture Reforms To Shut Down An Unconstitutional Forfeiture Machine

    Arlene Harjo’s two-year-old silver Nissan Versa sat over two hundred days in an impound lot in Albuquerque—targeted by city officials for civil forfeiture. Nobody ever claimed Arlene violated the law. Instead, the city tried to take her car because her son, Tino, allegedly drove drunk. Arlene does not approve of drunk driving; if Tino broke…

  • West Haven Eminent Domain

    Stopping Kelo From Happening Again

    In 2016, the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of West Haven, Connecticut resident Bob McGinnity (along with two of his elderly family members) in a challenge to the government’s attempt to condemn his home in order to build a shopping center. The City of West Haven’s redevelopment plan called for land to…

  • Arizona Forfeiture

    Innocent Couple Challenges Arizona’s Rigged Civil Forfeiture System

    Arizona’s forfeiture laws are so complicated that even lawyers often struggle to understand them—let alone the average person. People caught up in Arizona’s forfeiture maze face a system where each turn can lead to a dead-end. Property owners have only 30 days to either petition the prosecutor to reconsider the forfeiture or ask permission to…

  • New York City Evictions

    Waive Your Rights or Else: Challenging NYPD’s Use of “No-Fault” Eviction to Compel Innocent Residents and Businesses to Give Up Constitutional Rights

    When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business. But that’s exactly what happened. Attorneys for the city threatened Sung with eviction merely because a “stolen…

  • South Carolina Eyeglasses

    South Carolina Clamps Down On Online Medicine to Protect Profits of Established Businesses

    Chicago-based startup Visibly offers a simple promise: Get a new prescription for glasses or contacts from the comfort of your own home. Visibly’s technology allows doctors to provide faster and better service to more people by using computers and smartphones to conduct the kind of routine exam that doctors use to determine most glasses prescriptions.…

  • San Diego Forfeiture

    San Diego District Attorney Seizes Every Penny from a Local Family Without Charging Anyone with a Crime

    Can the government take all of a family’s money based on suspicion that one family member committed a crime? That is exactly what happened to the Slatic family, when the San Diego County District Attorney seized over $100,000 from personal bank accounts belonging to James Slatic, his wife Annette, and their two teenage daughters, Lily…

  • Charlestown Property Rights

    Eminent Domain in Disguise: Putting an End to Charlestown, Ind.’s Unconstitutional Home Inspection Scheme

    A small-town mayor in rural Indiana has made it his personal mission to oust the residents of a tight-knit working-class neighborhood, bulldoze their homes and build a fancy new subdivision for much wealthier people. The only things standing in his way are a plethora of state statutes, the Indiana and U.S. constitutions and, now, the…

  • Pottstown, Pa. Rental Inspections

    Pennsylvania Tenants and Landlord Challenge Unconstitutional Inspections of Homes

    Pottstown, Pennsylvania has a rental inspection law that forces landlords and tenants to open their properties and homes to submit to intrusive inspections. This ordinance allows the government to enter the most intimate confines of tenants’ homes—including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and closets—in search of housing code violations, even when landlords and tenants object.   Needless…

  • Minnesota Interstate Shipping

    Minnesota Farm Wineries Fight for Free Trade

    If you want to buy your favorite wine at a farm winery in Minnesota, chances are you’re going to be out of luck. A little-known but onerous state law prevents these vineyards from making a majority of their wine from grapes grown outside Minnesota. This unusual and severe restriction effectively ruins farm wineries’ potential to…

  • Orange Park Sign

    Video game store sues to protect its inflatable Mario sign

    For Scott Fisher, gaming is not just a passion; it is also how he supports his wife, Lori Fisher, and two children, Kailey and Ryland. Scott runs a video game store called Gone Broke Gaming. To bring in more customers, Scott had displayed a 9-foot inflatable Mario—the classic video game character—in front of his store…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Iowa Certificate of Need

    Ending Iowa's CON Laws That Limit Medical Options and Enrich Established Businesses

    For more than 20 years, Dr. Lee Birchansky has tried to offer his patients the option of having their cataract and other outpatient eye surgeries in a center right next to his office in Cedar Rapids. But the state of Iowa has stymied his efforts to open his own surgery center, forcing him to perform these…

  • Louisville Vending

    How Louisville Helps Restaurants Shut Down Their Food-Truck Competition, and How IJ Is Going to Stop It.

    Nobody should need their competitors’ permission to operate a business. That’s why, in 2017, two Louisville food truck owners teamed up with the Institute for Justice to fight a city law that banned trucks from operating within 150 feet of any restaurant that sells similar food. The law turned large swaths of Louisville into “no-vending”…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Chad Jarreau is a dirt farmer; dirt farming is literally the manufacture of dirt. For more than 10 years, Jarreau would dig and drain pits of dirt on land he owns in Cutoff, Louisiana, then churn the dirt to create fine-grained sandy dirt useful in construction projects. But in 2011, the South Lafourche Levee District,…

  • North Carolina Makeup Schools

    License to Teach: North Carolina Forces Makeup Artists to Teach Unrelated Skills or Face Thousands in Fines

    Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani is a North Carolina-based professional makeup artist who wanted to open up a school to teach others how to apply makeup like her. But there was a catch. The state would only give Jasna a license to open her school if she agreed to turn it into a full-fledged esthetics school, forcing her…

  • Eagle Pass Forfeiture

    Federal Agents Seized A Man’s Truck Over Five Forgotten Bullets. They Said He was Transporting “Munitions of War.” Now, After Having to Wait Two Years, He Is Suing To Get Back His Truck.

    Customs and Border Protection seized Gerardo Serrano’s truck—and held it over twenty-three months—because it claimed that five bullets made him an international arms smuggler.

  • Florida Diet Coaching

    Florida Health Coach Threatened with Jail and Big Fines for Merely Offering Dietary Advice

    Do adults have the right to talk to other adults about what to buy at the grocery store? That’s the question raised by a federal lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of Florida-based health coach Heather Kokesch Del Castillo. In 2014, Heather left an unfulfilling career to found Constitution Nutrition, a business…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Wyoming Forfeiture

    Wyoming law enforcement pressures drivers to sign a form “giving” their cash to law enforcement agencies and waiving any right to court proceedings.

    The Institute for Justice successfully represented Phil Parhamovich, a musician from Madison, Wisconsin who had his life savings of $91,800 seized by Wyoming law enforcement during a traffic stop on I-80 near Cheyenne. Phil was never accused of—or charged with—a crime, but Wyoming refused to return his money until he challenged the forfeiture in court.…

  • Nashville Home-Based Business

    Home-based businesses offer people an accessible path to entrepreneurship, but many are illegal in Music City

    Who would have thought it would be illegal to make music in Nashville? Unfortunately, the city’s ban on home-based businesses means local musicians, hairstylists and other aspiring entrepreneurs face steep fines and potential imprisonment if any customers physically come to their homes to do business. Nashville residents Lij Shaw and Pat Raynor have both lived…

  • New Jersey Baked Goods Ban

    New Jersey Bakers Challenge State Ban on Selling Home-Baked Goods

    New Jersey is the only state in the U.S. to completely ban bakers from selling cookies, cakes and muffins that were made in a home kitchen—foods even the government deems to be “not potentially hazardous.” New Jersey allows home bakers to legally sell their baked goods for charity and nonprofit bake sales. But the second…

  • Timbs v. Indiana

    There ARE Limits: IJ Takes Excessive Fines Case to the U.S. Supreme Court

    State and local authorities cannot treat Americans like ATMs. There are instead federal constitutional limits to the many fines, fees and forfeitures that states and localities impose.  That is the principle that Tyson Timbs and the Institute for Justice established at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. In a unanimous opinion by Justice Ginsburg, the…

  • Indio Attorney’s Fees

    Class Action Lawsuit Challenges California Cities’ For-Profit Prosecution Scheme

    There is a new sheriff in town in Indio, California and he’s coming after residents who find themselves caught in the city’s outrageous new code enforcement law. That sheriff is a private, for-profit law firm called Silver and Wright, which was hired by Indio in 2014 to serve as the city’s official prosecutor for code…

  • FDA Skim Milk

    Maryland Dairy Farmers Sue for Right to Tell the Truth

    The government does not have the power to change the dictionary, but that is precisely what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is attempting to do to keep American farms from selling wholesome, all-American skim milk. Randy Sowers learned this the hard way. He is a lifelong dairy farmer and the founder of South…

  • Washington, D.C. Day Care Education

    D.C. Parents and Day Care Providers Sue to Stop Rule Requiring Providers to Earn College Degree to Watch Kids

    Any parent who has raised a child knows that it takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and, most importantly, patience. The one thing it doesn’t take is a college degree. But don’t tell that to Washington, D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), which recently passed a regulation forcing the city’s day…

  • Houston Forfeiture

    Nurse Files Class Action Challenging CBP’s Abusive Civil Forfeiture Practices

    On October 31, 2017, Anthonia Nwaorie, a registered nurse and grandmother from Katy, Texas, experienced a real-life Halloween horror story at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized all of her money as she was boarding an international flight. Anthonia, a U.S. citizen, was traveling with over $40,000…

  • Doraville Ticketing

    Lawsuit Challenges Doraville, Ga. Practice of Using Traffic Tickets and Other Fines to ‘Police for Profit’

    Law enforcement exists to protect and serve, not tax and spend. But things are different in the city of Doraville, Georgia, a 10,000 person suburb of Atlanta that has become notorious for its revenue-generating speed traps and housing code enforcement cases. Each year, Doraville budgets between 17 and 30 percent of its overall expected revenue…

  • Para leer en español, haga clic aquí. Puerto Rico’s education system is in crisis. In the last few years, the Island’s public schools have suffered from a depressed economy, decreasing population, violence, dismal test scores, and, most recently, Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Parents have become increasingly frustrated and hopeless, feeling there are no real options…

  • Cleveland Forfeiture

    U.S. Customs & Border Protection Unlawfully Seizes Cleveland Family’s Life Savings, Won’t Give It Back

    Do people in America have the right to travel with cash? That was the question at the heart of the nightmarish civil forfeiture experience of an immigrant family in Ohio. The nightmare began when Rustem Kazazi, a 64-year-old former police officer from Albania who now lives in suburban Cleveland, was traveling back to Albania to…

  • For decades, Mary Jackson has worked as a lactation consultant, helping new moms and babies during a critical time in their lives. After the birth of her second child, Mary realized that new moms interested in breastfeeding were offered very little information or support. Her own experience inspired her to change careers and became a…

  • Mississippi Mapping

    Mississippi Regulatory Board Sues Tech Entrepreneurs to Prevent Competition

    When a bank accepts a piece of property as collateral for a loan, underwriting principles require the bank to have a survey performed if the property is large and expensive. But for smaller, less expensive properties, conducting a survey is not required because it is not financially feasible. Mississippi entrepreneurs Brent Melton and Scott Dow…

  • North Carolina CON

    North Carolina CONs Patients: Outdated Law Prevents Doctor From Providing Transparently Priced, Low-Cost MRI Scans

    Dr. Gajendra Singh knows first hand how frustrating it can be to find quality, affordable and transparently priced health care. As a surgeon practicing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he’s seen countless patients find themselves deep in medical debt after having to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses for medical imaging. Dr. Singh knew he…

  • Like other schools in Washington state, Summit Christian Academy wanted to hire college students under the state’s Work-Study Program to serve as tutors for its students. But simply because Summit Christian is a religious school, it was barred by the government from doing so, even if those tutors would only be assisting in secular subjects,…

  • Virginia Books

    Outdated Federal Law Threatens Unique Richmond Publisher

    What should the government give a small publishing company that is dedicated to bringing long-forgotten books to a broader modern audience? A pat on the back? An award?  How about a six-figure fine? In the case of Valancourt Books, the government is going with the fine. Valancourt is a small publishing company operated out of…

  • Maine School Choice III

    Federal lawsuit seeks to end religious discrimination and vindicate parental liberty

    On behalf of three Maine families, the Institute for Justice (IJ) and the First Liberty Institute (FLI) have filed a legal challenge to Maine’s exclusion of religious options from the state’s school choice program. IJ represents families from three small “tuitioning towns” in Maine—Orrington, Glenburn, and Palermo—towns where the local school district offers high school…

  • Carolina Beach Food Trucks

    Food-Truck Owners Challenge Ban on Competition

    Variety is, as the saying goes, the spice of life. Restaurants have menus because consumer like being able to choose what they eat and where they eat it. In the last decade, consumers have grown to love the choices provided by hard-working food-truck owners, like Michelle Rock, Aaron & Monica Cannon, and Harley Bruce who…

  • Texas Veterinary Speech II

    Texas Veterinarian Renews Fight to Give Professional Advice Online

    Retired Texan Sues Again for Right to Practice Veterinary Telemedicine

  • Fish Creek, WI Vending

    No Meals on Wheels—Wisconsin Town Stops Family Business From Operating State-Licensed Food Truck on Its Own Private Property

    Two million tourists annually come to Wisconsin’s lovely Door County for breathtaking lakeside views, water sports, cherry picking and much more. Unfortunately, one town there—Gibraltar—has recently made Door County a little less lovely. In a fit of anti-competitive pique, Gibraltar has banned restaurants on wheels, to the detriment of the town’s entrepreneurs and their customers.…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Seattle Rental Inspections

    Class Action Lawsuit Challenges Seattle’s Mandatory Rental Inspection Law

    When it comes to respecting the property and privacy rights of its residents, the city of Seattle treats its rental tenants as second-class citizens by forcing them to allow government-mandated inspectors into their homes, without first getting a warrant. Homeowners, on the other hand, have no responsibility to have their homes inspected by the city,…

  • Fort Pierce Food Trucks

    Food Truck Owners Challenge One of the Most Anti-Competitive Vending Restrictions in the Country

    Fort Pierce’s business owners keep inviting food truck owners Benny Diaz and Brian Peffer to set up on their properties. The business owners know that legions of fans follow Benny’s Taco Trap and Brian’s Creative Chef on Wheels food trucks everywhere they go. But Benny and Brian cannot accept any invitations to serve food because…

  • Pennsylvania Fresh Start

    Law Denies Women Right to Work Because of Irrelevant Criminal Convictions

    Amanda Spillane was finally getting her life on track. Having gotten hooked on drugs as a teenager, Amanda had committed several crimes and landed in prison for two years. When she got out, Amanda was determined not to waste the rest of her youth. She moved back in with her parents, started working full time…

  • Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas

    Can States Bar Newcomers from Owning a Business?

    Doug and Mary Ketchum moved to Tennessee so they could own and operate a mom-and-pop liquor store there. Doing so would enable them to meet their two main goals:  earning a living and doing so in a way that gives them the flexible schedule they need to take care of their severely disabled and ailing…

  • Virginia Teaching

    License to Teach? Virginia Stops Family Business From Teaching Useful Job Skills

    Jon and Tracy McGlothian have a simple dream: they want to teach others the skills they’ve built over a lifetime of work, both to support themselves and to provide greater opportunity for individuals in their community. Their small business wants to offer classes to adults. What sounds simple, however, has become complicated because Virginia won’t…

  • There are many obstacles to publishing a book: editing, design, marketing, and more. But the Cato Institute, a D.C.-based think tank that has published hundreds of books, finds itself facing a new obstacle: the law. In 2018, Cato signed a contract to publish a book written by an American businessman who says he was the…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Great Lakes Pilot

    Coast Guard-empowered private association concocts reasons to keep an experienced captain from working

    Captain Matthew Hight thought he would earn a living navigating cargo carriers on the Great Lakes. Instead, an unholy alliance of a federal bureaucracy and a legalized monopoly suddenly rendered him a castaway. Now he’s setting sail with the Institute for Justice to get his job back and ensure that no one else has their…

  • Pennsylvania Pipeline Eminent Domain

    Pipelines & Eminent Domain: Take Now, Pay (Much) Later

    Pipeline companies create an essential part of America’s energy infrastructure, but their power is supposed to be limited. As documented below, however, the power of pipeline companies to take people’s private property is anything but limited:  It is a power that is systematically abused by pipeline companies across the nation. Worse yet, the courts—rather than…

  • Norco, CA Enforcement Fees

    Ron Mugar successfully stopped the city's plan to take his home—and they're still making him pay

    Sixty thousand dollars. That is the amount of money the City of Norco, California, is forcing resident Ron Mugar to pay for having the gall to successfully defend himself in court. That might sound unbelievable, but such brazenness is to be expected when a city outsources its justice to a law firm like Dapeer, Rosenblit…

  • Indiana Eyeglasses

    Indiana Bans Online Eye Tests to Protect Established Businesses from Competition

    Healthcare technology company Visibly (previously known as Opternative) offers a simple promise: Get a prescription for new glasses or contacts from the comfort of your own home. In most states across the country, Visibly’s innovative technology allows doctors to provide faster and better service to more people by using computers and smartphones to conduct the…

  • Pennsylvania Forfeiture FOIA

    Pennsylvania newspaper fights local district attorney to make forfeiture records public

    Intrepid investigative reporters are intimately familiar with federal and state laws that compel the government to provide public records upon request. These requests for information are a crucial tools for reporters looking to shine a light on the misdeeds of government officials. When the government stonewalls, reporters are forced to wage drawn out court battles…

  • Chicago Impound

    The Windy City tows the cars of innocent people and holds them for ransom

    Jerome Davis and Veronica Walker-Davis did absolutely nothing wrong, yet lost their car to a system that made them feel like criminals. Their car was impounded by the city of Chicago, which tows and holds tens of thousands of vehicles each year. Vehicles can be impounded for littering, playing music too loudly, or  myriad other…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Mandan, ND Mural

    Mandan's "mural police" goes after art the city does not like

    Augie and Brian, as good citizens, dutifully applied for a mural permit. But Mandan officials stymied Augie and Brian at every turn. The city said that because Lonesome Dove’s name appeared in the artwork, it couldn’t be a mural, since murals could not be “intended to advertise an establishment.” Nor could Lonesome Dove get a…

  • Louisiana Hair Braiding

    Louisiana Hair Braiders Fight For Right To Earn An Honest Living

    Can the government require hundreds of hours of training and an expensive license for any job?  That is the question that the Institute for Justice (IJ) and three hair braiders have put before a court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the State Board of Cosmetology has grossly overstepped the constitutional line by attempting to license…

  • Texas Doctor Dispensing

    Texas Bans Doctors from Offering Medication to Their Patients Just to Protect Pharmacies from Competition

    The last thing a sick patient wants to do after a doctor’s appointment is stand in line at a pharmacy for basic treatment like anti-nausea medication—and, in most of the country, they don’t have to. 45 states and the District of Columbia allow patients to purchase medication directly from the doctor prescribing it. This practice,…

  • Mississippi Food Labeling Law

    Mississippi Makes Selling “Veggie Burgers” a Crime

    If this doesn’t come as a stunning revelation, then you’re savvier than the state of Mississippi gave you credit for. In 2019, at the behest of the meat lobby, Mississippi banned food companies making plant-based meat alternatives from using any meat product terms on their labels (burgers, hot dogs, etc.), supposedly to protect consumers. Mississippi’s…

  • Charlottesville Writer Tax

    Charlottesville Treats Members of Its Creative Community Like ATMs

    Charlottesville, Virginia, prides itself on welcoming its large community of writers, artists and other freelance creatives with open arms. But recently, for the first time, some members of this community have been told that they’ve been criminals for years. The city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County have decided to require a business license to write…

  • Granite City Compulsory Evictions

    Illinois Family Sues to End Law Threatening Them With Compulsory Eviction for a Crime They Did Not Commit

    No one should be punished for a crime someone else committed. That simple notion is at the heart of our criminal justice system—we are all innocent until proven guilty and should be punished only for things the government can prove we did. But try telling that to Granite City, Illinois, where city officials are trying…

  • Minnesota Continuing Legal Education

    Attorneys Petition for Reduced Burden in Licensing of Lawyers

    Lawyers at the Institute for Justice advocate for the end of the protectionism inherent in occupational licensing laws.  They don’t overlook their own profession. Continuing education requirements impose an expensive and often useless cost on licensed practitioners.  That’s true for lawyers, real estate brokers, doctors and other licensed workers.  IJ and attorneys from four other…

  • Nevada Tax Credit Scholarships

    Nevada’s Legislature ignores the state’s Constitution to reduce support for educational choice

    To ensure that students of every background have the educational opportunity they need to succeed, the state established the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program, a need-based program funded by private donations incentivized by tax credits. Families looking for just the right school for their children—but for whom private school is a financial impossibility—have the option…

  • Zion, Illinois Rental Inspections

    Landlord and Tenants Sue Illinois City Challenging Unconstitutional Home Inspections

    Just north of Chicago, the city of Zion, Illinois, requires landlords to force tenants to open the doors of their homes to city inspectors without a warrant. If a tenant refuses to consent to an inspection, the city threatens their landlord with ruinous fines. The city refuses to acquire search warrants in response to tenant…

  • A city should not be able to force its residents to pay to renovate city property before they can renovate their own homes.  But the City of Richland, Washington disagrees. Linda Cameron has been living in the same Richland, Washington home for nearly 40 years. The home, which she purchased with her late husband, has…

  • Woodcrest Homes, Inc. v. Carousel Farms Metro. Dis

    Institute for Justice Asks U.S. Supreme Court to End Colorado Law Permitting Neighbors to Engage in Eminent Domain Abuse

    Imagine if two of your neighbors got together, claimed they established a new town, and then “voted” to take your property from you using eminent domain. Crazy, right? Not in Colorado, where the owners of Woodcrest Homes are battling a competing developer’s attempt to use eminent domain to take their property. After battling in the…

  • Miami Forfeiture Attorneys’ Fees

    Miami Woman Appeals to the Supreme Court to Get Back Every Dollar Federal Agents Wrongly Took From Her

    On May 11, 2015, Miladis Salgado returned home to find her life turned upside down. While she was at work, police raided her home and seized her entire life savings—$15,000 in cash—based on a tip that her estranged husband was dealing drugs. He wasn’t, but that didn’t stop the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from attempting to keep Miladis’s money…

  • If the government needs to destroy your home to build a freeway or a school, the Constitution entitles you to just compensation. But what if the government needs to destroy your home for some other reason—say, to capture a fugitive who has randomly taken refuge in your house while fleeing the police? Does the government…

  • Kentucky CON

    Nepali Immigrants Sue Kentucky Over Law That Stopped Them from Opening a Home Health Care Business

    Dipendra Tiwari wants to provide home health care to refugees in Louisville in a language they understand. But Kentucky won’t let him because it says that service isn’t needed. How can that be? The answer is a government permission slip called a certificate of need. Nearly 100,000 Nepali speakers have been welcomed to the United…

  • …………..   . IJ’s Food Freedom Initiative Do you own a food-related business that is facing problems or is even under threat of shutdown because of burdensome laws and regulations? Do you face excessive fines from the government if you don’t stop your business, take down an advertisement or dig up your garden? IJ’s National…

  • Pittsburgh Airport Forfeiture

    Pittsburgh Retiree Sues Federal Government to Get His Life Savings Back

    Retired railroad engineer Terry Rolin’s life savings were seized by the government, but he hasn’t been charged with any crime. Terry saved up cash and kept it in his Pittsburgh home over many years. But when he moved out of his old house into a new, smaller apartment he didn’t feel safe keeping so much…

  • West v. Winfield

    Institute for Justice Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hold Government Officials Accountable For Destroying Idaho Home with Grenades

    If you tell police they can go into your home, does that mean they can also legally stand outside and pepper it with shotgun-fired tear gas grenades—destroying everything inside? That is the question asked by a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States filed by the Institute for Justice (IJ) on behalf of…

  • Detroit Civil Forfeiture

    Class Action Lawsuit Challenges Detroit’s Unconstitutional Civil Forfeiture Program

    For decades, residents of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan have lived under constant threat of having their cars taken away and ransomed back to them for $1,000 or more—that is, if the car is ever recovered. The perpetrators are not criminals; they are police and prosecutors who, under Michigan law, use civil forfeiture to seize…

  • Tennessee School Choice

    Tennessee Parents Intervene in Court to Defend ESA Program

    In May 2019, Tennessee enacted the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program Act, giving thousands of low- and middle-income families in Tennessee with greater school choice as early as the 2020-21 school year.  The Institute for Justice is intervening on behalf of two parents, Natu Bah and Builguissa Diallo, to defend the program from a…

  • Brownback v. King

    Taking on The Shell Games That Allow Federal/State Task Force Members To Violate Your Rights

    You probably don’t know it, but federal agents are working closely with police where you live. Over the past few decades, joint task forces staffed by both state and federal police have become common. They now number more than one thousand. As a result of these federal/state partnerships, the government often plays what amounts to…

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