IJ Keeps Beginning the World Over Again

Scott G. Bullock
Scott G. Bullock  ·  November 1, 2023

In September, we convened more than 250 of IJ’s most dedicated supporters, clients, and staff at our latest Partners Retreat. This one was appropriately called “The Shape of Justice to Come.” It was our first major event since IJ’s 25th anniversary in 2016—and our first ever on the West Coast. While the 2016 Retreat rightly focused on IJ’s accomplishments to that point, this one was geared toward where IJ is now and where we are headed. 

This issue of Liberty & Law likewise captures much of what we featured during the Retreat: reports on what’s happening with some more mature IJ campaigns, such as our fights against civil forfeiture, abusive fines and fees schemes, and protectionist occupational licensing laws. It details early waves of success in IJ’s newest projects challenging immunity doctrines and restoring protections for Fourth Amendment rights. And it announces the next chapter in our work defending educational freedom while also showcasing what IJ has accomplished in the past three decades systematically establishing the constitutionality of educational choice—a crescendo that could not be more timely after the pandemic exposed entirely the failings of the traditional government school model. 

Moreover, our dual cover stories in this issue demonstrate IJ’s ability to bring important issues—like government retaliation and the right to just compensation when government destroys private property—to the nation’s highest court, where victory will shape the law in favor of freedom and justice for decades to come. 

As you know, IJ takes on big fights with big opponents where the stakes are hugely consequential for our clients and for thousands of others like them. We are proud to represent people who would otherwise have no chance without IJ. Our clients fight for free trade, personal autonomy, and open inquiry. They seek legal rulings that protect the rights of everyone, where they and others can have the same opportunity to pursue their vision of the good life.  

Their cases are the embodiment of the principles we embrace, when many strains of the current political spectrum have frankly turned away from the values of a free society. Through our clients, IJ changes the law and the climate of public opinion in a profound and permanent way. 

As we highlighted during the Retreat, IJ has gone through a period of explosive growth since 2016, increasing our staff by nearly two-thirds and almost doubling our caseload, with nearly 100 cases on our active docket. We grew because we saw the pressing need to do more to protect the constitutional rights at the heart of our mission. All of this is made possible by more than 10,000 generous supporters who share our commitment to making principles manifest through real-world results. 

Thomas Paine wrote about the drafting of our Constitution, “We have every opportunity and every encouragement before us to form the noblest, purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” 

That’s a power at IJ’s—and your—disposal. 

As this issue shows, through carefully considered yet bold public interest programs, we’ve begun the world over again on cause after cause. But much work remains. Together, we will challenge abuses of power and dismantle barriers to opportunity so the people featured in this magazine—and all Americans—can pursue their dreams as they see fit.

Scott Bullock is IJ’s president and chief counsel.

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