Past IJ Arguments of Note

IJ has participated in dozens of arguments over the years. Below is a selection of some of the most noteworthy.

U.S. Supreme Court

Private Property

DeVillier v. Texas Supreme Court Hearing

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • April 16, 2024

Richie DeVillier’s family has lived on their cattle ranch outside Winnie, Texas since the 1920s. Historically, rainwater on their land flowed naturally to the Gulf of Mexico. However, after the Texas Department of Transportation renovated a highway bordering their land, installing a three-foot-high concrete barrier along the highway, the dynamics changed. Read More

Educational Choice | Publicly Funded Scholarships

Maine School Choice Oral Argument

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • December 08, 2021

On behalf of three Maine families, IJ and the First Liberty Institute filed a challenge to Maine’s exclusion of religious options from the state’s school choice program. Our clients all lived in “tuitioning towns,” which offer tuition payments for students to attend the public or private high schools of their choice instead of maintaining public high schools of their own. Our clients wanted to send their children to otherwise qualified religious schools, but a state law prohibited towns from paying tuition to those schools. Read More

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Timbs v. Indiana Oral Argument

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • November 28, 2018

After Tyson Timbs got caught selling four grams of heroin to undercover officers, he pleaded guilty to drug dealing. He served one year on house arrest, paid $1,200 in court fees, and, most importantly, got clean. But the state of Indiana cared a lot more about his car—an expensive (and legally purchased) Land Rover, which he was driving the day of his arrest. The state filed a lawsuit to civilly forfeit the vehicle, arguing that it had been used to convey Tyson a few blocks to one of his meetings with the undercover officers. Read More

First Amendment | Political Speech

Arizona Campaign Finance Oral Argument

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • March 28, 2011

IJ challenged Arizona’s punitive system of funding political campaigns with taxpayer funds. Under Arizona’s “Clean Elections” Act, if a privately financed candidate or an independent political group supporting that candidate spent more than the government wished, the state would provide “matching funds” to the publicly funded candidate—on top of that candidate’s initial government subsidy. Read More

State Supreme Courts

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Indiana Jury Trials Oral Argument

  • Indiana Supreme Court
  • May 04, 2023

The right to a jury trial is fundamental to our justice system. The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases in federal court. Likewise, most state constitutions protect the right to a jury trial in civil cases in state court. The Indiana Constitution is no exception. Read More

Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Occupational Licensing

Arizona Engineering Licensing Oral Argument

  • Arizona Supreme Court
  • June 30, 2022

Greg Mills is an engineer with decades of experience designing, building, and testing electrical circuits for major manufacturers in Arizona. After years of working for others, he started his own engineering consulting company to serve startups and small businesses. Greg is doing the same exact type of work he did as an employee of a big company. But because he now works for himself, the Arizona engineering board says he needs an engineering license and is threatening to shut him down. Read More

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Texas Eyebrow Threading Oral Argument

  • Texas Supreme Court
  • February 27, 2014

IJ joined with eyebrow threading salon owner Ash Patel, along with several other threading salon owners and individual threaders, to challenge the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation’s requirement that threaders become fully licensed cosmetologists to practice their trade, which involves using a single strand of cotton thread to remove unwanted hair. Read More

Federal Appellate Courts

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

New York Forfeiture Appeal Oral Argument

  • Second Circuit
  • May 03, 2023

Rochester, New York, police seized more than $8,000 from Cristal Starling on the theory that her then-boyfriend was a drug dealer and the money was drug proceeds. In reality, it was legitimate cash that Cristal was saving to expand her food cart into a food truck. Nevertheless, and although Cristal’s now-ex-boyfriend was acquitted on drug charges, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration moved to keep Cristal’s money forever using civil forfeiture. Read More

Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Health | Occupational Licensing | Occupational Speech

Texas Veterinary Speech Oral Argument

  • Fifth Circuit
  • February 25, 2020

For 10 years, Dr. Ron Hines, a retired and physically disabled Texas-licensed veterinarian, used the internet to give advice to pet owners across the country and around the globe, often for free. He didn’t realize that it is illegal in Texas to give veterinary advice about an animal without first physically examining the animal. When the state veterinary board found out what Ron was doing, it shut him down, suspended his license, and fined him—even though no one ever complained about Ron’s advice. Read More