In the midst of both the economic destruction of a pandemic and civil unrest sparked by government abuses, IJ’s fight to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans is producing rays of hope in bleak times. Here are just a few of our victories from the past few months!
- We secured a landmark victory for educational choice at the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that states administering choice programs must remain neutral regarding religion and let families choose the school, religious or secular, that’s right for them.
- We defeated a Pennsylvania law demanding aspiring aestheticians meet a “good moral character” requirement before receiving a cosmetology license—a requirement that arbitrarily and unnecessarily prevented hundreds from working because of past mistakes.
- We ended Charleston, South Carolina’s unconstitutional licensing scheme that threatened tour guides like IJ client Kim Billups with fines and even jail for speaking without the city’s approval.
- We vindicated the right to teach and learn when an appeals court ruled that the First Amendment fully protects the speech of IJ client Bob Smith and the students who want to learn horseshoeing from him.
- We secured the return of Tyson Timbs’ property seized using civil forfeiture, in a case IJ has taken from an Indiana trial court to the U.S. Supreme Court and back again (and we’re not done yet).
- We helped convince the city of Nashville to repeal its ban on home-based businesses, so IJ client and music producer Lij Shaw can legally make music in Music City.
- We triumphed on behalf of Minnesota winemakers over a protectionist requirement to use mostly in-state grapes, freeing them to use the grapes their customers want to drink.
- We defended the rights of D.C. day care providers fighting for their jobs by convincing an appeals court to overturn the dismissal of their lawsuit.
- We won resounding state supreme court victories for economic liberty on behalf of a short-term rental manager in Pennsylvania and lactation consultants in Georgia.
- We won first-round victories challenging warrantless surveillance in Tennessee, a protectionist CON law in Kentucky, and a regulator’s attempt to shut down food freedom in North Dakota.
But at IJ, we don’t rest on our laurels. During this time, we also launched 10 new cases as well as an initiative to help state and local governments craft custom legislation to take on the crises of this year.
Much work remains to be done, but thanks to the courage of our clients and the support of our donors, IJ will continue winning for individual liberty in 2020 and beyond!
Lisa Bergstrom is IJ’s donor communications associate.