By Beth Stevens
Wow, what a year!
From our civil asset forfeiture victory in a New Jersey court all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court victory in our Cleveland school choice case, the Institute for Justice and our clients reigned victorious throughout the past year. Look at just a few of the victories we were able to accomplish with your support over the past year:
Thanks to our victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, thousands of schoolchildren in Cleveland now attend the schools that their parents have chosen for them rather than the unsafe, failing ones they had previously been consigned to by the government. And now, in the wake of this decision, the road ahead for choice programs in other states is clearer.
The Reverend Nathaniel Craigmiles may now sell low-cost caskets to his parishioners in inner-city Chattanooga after beating back Tennessee’s government-imposed casket sales cartel. This case marked the first time a federal appeals court has upheld the right to earn an honest living since it was gutted during the New Deal.
Virginia winemaker Juanita Swedenburg and New York consumers struck down the Empire State’s restrictive direct-shipping laws, thereby paving the way for greater consumer freedom in the Internet age.
Lonzo and Matilda Archie and their family remain on the land that has been in their family for generations after beating back the State of Mississippi’s attempt to illegally take their property for a Nissan plant.
Matt Dery and his neighbors in New London, Conn., won the first round of litigation against the City’s attempt to unlawfully take their homes. Our work on this case, the Mississippi case and others has put bureaucrats on notice that they no longer can take property for a private use without a fight—ordinary citizens are standing up to (and beating) City Hall.
And finally, in what was widely hailed as the most important civil forfeiture case in the nation, former deputy sheriff (and current IJ client) Carol Thomas won the first round of litigation in her quest to remove the perverse profit incentives behind New Jersey’s civil forfeiture law. This victory paves the way for similar challenges in other states.
As we approach the end of our fiscal year on June 30, you can help make this our most successful fund raising year too, and help lay the groundwork for the victories that are sure to lie ahead. Last July we started our fiscal year with our busiest caseload ever and the largest budget we’ve ever needed to raise: $5.8 million. Now, with just a month to go until the end of our fiscal year, you can make sure we meet our budget and start off FY04 with powerful momentum.
Each of the Institute for Justice’s litigation victories transformed the lives of our clients and others like them who can now control their own destinies without arbitrary government interference. But what matters most is the way these cases, taken together, are changing the world.
I hope you’ll consider providing a special end-of-fiscal-year donation to help us build on this momentum.
Thank you so very much.
Beth Stevens is the Institute’s director of development.