IJ’s Washington Chapter Marks a Decade of Defiance

June 3, 2013

It takes guts to go up against local, state and even the federal government. But that is exactly what the IJ Washington Chapter has done for the past decade, earning successes that have cleared the way for entrepreneurs to thrive and protesters to speak.

On a beautiful sunny evening this past April, the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter celebrated its first 10 years of litigating for liberty in the Evergreen State with dozens of supporters in its new offices in Bellevue.

While guests dined on delicious bagels, sandwiches and desserts provided courtesy of IJ-WA client Dennis Ballen, owner of Blazing Bagels, they also got a taste of what makes the Institute for Justice so unique. IJ President Chip Mellor noted that the success of the past 10 years was made possible by the attorneys and staff at IJ-WA, as well as the donors and supporters of the chapter, believing in The IJ Way and transplanting it to the farthest location from IJ’s home base in Virginia.

IJ-WA Executive Director Bill Maurer recalled some of IJ-WA’s biggest milestones, including arguing and winning a First Amendment case at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Demonstrating the national reach of all attorneys who work at the Institute for Justice, IJ-WA Senior Attorney Michael Bindas won a significant victory before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a property owner in Missouri who wished to use the side of his building to protest the abuse of eminent domain.

Exhibiting the tenacity of a typical IJ client, Cliff Courtney set off on a three-day trip just to attend the IJ-WA 10th anniversary celebration. Cliff and his brother, Jim, are challenging the government-imposed ferry monopoly on Lake Chelan in Washington. Michael argued their case in May before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. IJ’s teaming with the Courtney brothers to challenge the scheme was a game changer, according to Cliff, who said, “What folks will learn is that if you’re going to play Monopoly, don’t play with IJ.”

Here’s to the next 10 years of making government regulators nationwide heed that warning.

Deborah Simpson is IJ’s vice president for state chapters and institute growth integration.

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