Press Releases

  • August 4, 2021

    Pasco Families Win Round One in Lawsuit Challenging Predictive Policing Program

    Federal Judge Rejects County’s Attempt to Dismiss Case

    TAMPA, Fla.—Today, a federal judge dealt a blow to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco’s Orwellian “predictive policing” program. Judge Steven D. Merryday issued an order denying the Sheriff’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of residents targeted by the county’s controversial practice of identifying and harassing supposed “future criminals”—including kids under the…

  • August 4, 2021    |   Private Property

    Victory for One U.S. Private Vaults Box Renter: Faced With Court Order, FBI Will Return Seized Cash

    Following a court order directing the FBI to justify its seizure of Joseph Ruiz’s $57,000, the FBI is giving the property back.

    LOS ANGELES—More than four months after the FBI seized the $57,000 in cash that Joseph Ruiz kept in his safe deposit box, the government has finally thrown in the towel and agreed to return his money. Yesterday’s filing comes after United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner issued an order on July 23 directing the…

  • August 2, 2021    |   Private Property

    In an extensive report released late last week, a special commission created by the Massachusetts Legislature urged lawmakers to overhaul civil forfeiture, which lets law enforcement seize and keep property without prosecutors ever charging anyone with a crime. Although civil forfeiture is often defended as a way to target drug kingpins, the reality is far…

  • August 2, 2021    |   Private Property

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed the Illinois Vegetable Garden Protection Act (HB 633), a bill that will preserve and protect the right of all Illinoisans to “cultivate vegetable gardens on their own property.” Introduced by Rep. Sonya Harper, the Act will protect the right to grow vegetables, as well as “herbs, fruits, flowers, pollinator…

  • July 27, 2021    |   Private Property

    Minnesota DNR Announces One-Month Delay On Controversial Roseau Lake Project Environmental Impact Statement

    An Environmental Impact Statement would provide much-needed information about the environmental damage the project will cause to the area

    ROSEAU, Minn.—Yesterday morning, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a 30-day delay on the decision about whether or not it will issue an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Roseau Lake Rehabilitation Project. The project has generated controversy for its effects on the productive farmland owned by over fifty families who’ve farmed the…

  • July 23, 2021    |   First Amendment

    Unique Richmond Publisher Will Appeal After D.C. Judge Insists It Must Give the Government Free Copies of Its Books

    U.S. Copyright Office demands books, threatens thousands in fines, offers nothing in return

    WASHINGTON—Valancourt Books, a small Richmond publisher, will appeal a decision issued today by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia holding that Valancourt must provide the government with free copies of its books. In 2018, Valancourt teamed up with the Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Copyright Office after…

  • July 22, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Washington Woman Claims Victory for the Right to Feed Others in Need

    Clarkston homeowner wins right to run a “Little Free Pantry”

    CLARKSTON, Wash.—When Kathy Hay saw her neighbors in need, she decided to help. She decided the best way to meet that need was to build a “little free pantry” to share food with her community. The idea took off immediately, and Kathy’s neighbors pitched in and donated enough food to serve dozens of people in…

  • July 22, 2021

    New Report Uncovers the Shocking Student Debt Burden Utah Beauty School Students Take On

    Cosmetology students rarely graduate on time and struggle to earn enough to pay their loans

    ARLINGTON, Va.—A new report reveals for the first time the shocking amount of debt Utah beauty school students take on only to end up in jobs that rarely pay off in terms of earnings. The examination of federal data on cosmetology schools nationwide shows that state-mandated education often fails aspiring beauty workers. Specifically, the new…

  • July 22, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    New Report Uncovers the Shocking Student Debt Burden Beauty School Students Take On

    Cosmetology students borrow more in federal student loans than most students, rarely graduate on time and struggle to earn enough to pay their loans

    ARLINGTON, Va.—A new report out today reveals for the first time the shocking amount of debt beauty school students take on only to end up in jobs that rarely pay off in terms of earnings. The examination of federal data on cosmetology schools nationwide shows that state-mandated education often fails aspiring beauty workers. Specifically, the…

  • July 21, 2021

    Entrepreneurship Advocates Praise City Council Approval of Sign Permit Reforms

    Institute for Justice Clinic: “Reform of the convoluted sign permit process has been a long time in coming.”

    CHICAGO—At a meeting this afternoon, the Chicago City Council voted to reform the city’s sign permit process to speed up approvals. Under the proposal, the full City Council would no longer need to vote on individual sign permits unless the local alderman and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection disagree on whether one…

  • July 16, 2021    |   Private Property

    Federal Judge Again Slams the Door on FBI Efforts to Forfeit Property Seized in U.S. Private Vaults Raid

    Court again tells government that it cannot take people’s property without first saying what it thinks they did wrong

    LOS ANGELES—In an order issued this morning, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner stopped the government from permanently taking the property of two people who rented boxes at U.S. Private Vaults. Joseph Ruiz and Travis May each had their valuables seized during the FBI’s March raid on the business. And while neither has been accused…

  • July 15, 2021    |   Private Property

    Akron Homeless Charity Will Appeal Shelter Case’s Dismissal

    Case argues private charities have a constitutional right to use private property to shelter homeless individuals in emergencies

    AKRON, Ohio—Today, Akron homeless advocates announced they would appeal the dismissal of their lawsuit challenging the city’s refusal to allow the operation of a small shelter on private property. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2019, did not seek to resurrect the full tent village that arose the previous year, but allow only the emergency and…

  • July 14, 2021

    Nashville Home-based Business Owners Take Their Case To The Tennessee Supreme Court

    Record producer Lij Shaw and hairstylist Pat Raynor will finally get their day in court

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.—On Monday, the Tennessee Supreme Court accepted the case of two Nashville home-based business owners who challenged the city’s prohibition on working from home. Record producer Lij Shaw and hairstylist Pat Raynor, represented by the Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, sued the city in 2017 after it shut down their…

  • July 13, 2021    |   Private Property

    In a major win for private property rights and civil liberties, Maine repealed its civil forfeiture laws on Tuesday, when a bipartisan bill (LD 1521) took effect without the governor’s signature. Unlike criminal forfeiture, which only allows the state to confiscate property after a criminal conviction, under civil forfeiture, law enforcement agencies can seize and keep property without prosecutors ever filing criminal charges. Maine now joins…

  • July 12, 2021    |   Private Property

    Homeowner Facing $100,000 Parking Violation Wins First Round of Her Lawsuit Against Florida Town

    State court turns down Lantana’s attempt to dismiss suit over whether sky-high fines for minor violations violate the Florida Constitution

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—This morning, a Florida court rejected the town of Lantana’s attempt to end a lawsuit filed by resident Sandy Martinez, who is contesting sky-high fines she was assessed for minor infractions on her own property. One parking violation, assessed daily for over a year, totals more than $100,000. The total amount the…

  • July 9, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Wisconsin Ends Occupational Licensing for Hair Braiders

    Braiding Licenses Also Cited by President Biden in New Executive Order Targeting “Unfair” Licensing Laws

    Wisconsin has now become the 31st state to eliminate licensing for natural hair braiders, thanks to a bill (AB 121) signed Thursday by Gov. Tony Evers. With a rich heritage spanning millennia, natural hair braiding is a beauty practice common in many African American and African immigrant communities. Unlike cosmetologists, braiders do not cut hair or use any harsh chemicals or dyes in their work.  Yet Wisconsin was…

  • July 8, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    New Hampshire Eliminates Unconstitutional Restriction on School Tuitioning Program

    Family who launched 2020 lawsuit to end exclusion of religious schools praises new law

    CONCORD, N.H.—In a major win for educational choice, Gov. Chris Sununu yesterday signed a bill expanding the state’s town tuitioning program to include religious private schools. The tuitioning program empowers local school districts that do not operate public schools for certain grade levels to pay tuition for students to attend private schools or other public…

  • July 2, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Supreme Court Will Hear Potentially Landmark Maine School Choice Case

    High Court will Resolve Whether States May Bar Parents Who Select Schools that Provide Religious Instruction from Participating in Student-Aid Program

    Arlington, Virginia—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a potentially landmark case challenging a Maine law that bans families from an otherwise generally available student-aid program if they choose to send their children to schools that teach religion. The Institute for Justice (IJ), which represents the parents in Carson v. Makin, will argue the…

  • July 1, 2021    |   First Amendment

    U.S. Supreme Court Donor Disclosure Ruling is a Victory for Freedom of Association

    Ruling in AFP v. Bonta Strikes Down California Requirement That Charities Disclose Donors

    Arlington, Virginia—In its final opinion of the 2020-2021 Term, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down a California requirement that all nonprofits operating in the state turn over a list of their largest contributors to the state’s Attorney General. The Institute for Justice (IJ) filed an amicus brief in the consolidated cases, Americans for Prosperity Foundation…

  • June 30, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Florida Barbers Free to Leave the Shop Under Newly Signed Law

    New law allows barbers to cut hair outside of registered barbershops

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Gov. Ron DeSantis last night signed a bill into law allowing Sunshine State barbers to cut hair in places other than registered barbershops. House Bill 855 received unanimous support in both the Florida House and Senate. The Institute for Justice (IJ) supported the legislation, which expands on the sweeping licensing reform passed last year.…

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