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20th Anniversary Celebration

By Chip Mellor

Twenty years ago when we first opened our doors, the Institute for Justice faced very long odds going up against deeply entrenched precedent and powerful interests on behalf of principles that were ignored or disparaged by the media.

But this adversity was and continues to be what makes IJ’s work all the more exciting. For IJ, the magnitude of the challenge is in itself a call to action. We thrive on doing what others say can’t be done.

IJ is unique. It began as a dream based on one premise: Principled, strategic public interest litigation has enormous potential to secure liberty and establish the rule of law essential to a society of free and responsible individuals. To succeed, IJ must pursue a philosophically and tactically consistent strategy implemented over the long-term.

Although we have made remarkable progress in the past 20 years, there remains a lot to do. The talent, tools and tactics that we have developed since IJ’s founding will serve us well as we continue our quest for liberty and apply them ever more creatively.

Along the way, IJ will become a household name. But as was true when we started out 20 years ago, so will it be true in the next 20 years: Our strength is not dependent upon our size, but on the principles of liberty enshrined in the Constitution, principles that will endure and resonate as long as there are passionate advocates ready and able to defend them.

We—all of us—will be those advocates. Our quest will take us into uncharted legal terrain and call upon us to maintain our resolve in the face of increasingly desperate defenders of the status quo. But we will not waver. We will not flinch. We will be the champions of the Constitution. We will succeed, and along the way, we will change the world and have fun doing it.

Chip Mellor is IJ’s president and general counsel.

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