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Press Releases

  • April 14, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Florida Barbers Free to Leave the Shop Under Newly Approved Bill

    Legislation headed to the Governor would allow barbers to cut hair outside of registered barbershops

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—A bill approved today by the Florida Legislature would allow 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 supported the legislation, which expands on the sweeping licensing reform passed last year. That reform…

  • April 13, 2021    |   Private Property

    Charlotte Trucking Company Owner Fights for $39,500 Police Took from Him at Phoenix Airport

    Civil forfeiture allows Arizona law enforcement to take money without connecting it with a crime

    PHOENIX—Jerry Johnson flew to Phoenix with $39,500 and the intention of returning home with a semi-truck from an Arizona auction house, but instead he returned to Charlotte without his money and without a truck. After his $39,500 in cash was seized by law enforcement at the Phoenix airport, Jerry fought for its return in court.…

  • April 8, 2021    |   Private Property

    Innocent Property Owners Will be at Risk if Proposed Forfeiture Reforms Are Gutted

    Story of Phoenix airport traveler who had $39,500 seized without criminal charges demonstrates what is at stake

    PHOENIX—Proposed legislation to reform civil forfeiture practices in Arizona, House Bill 2810, was on a swift path to confirmation after nearly unanimous support in the House. Now, however, a proposed amendment in the Senate could gut the proposed reforms, encouraging abusive law enforcement practices rather than correcting them. The Institute for Justice (IJ) opposes the…

  • April 7, 2021    |   Private Property

    Institute for Justice Urges Protections for Private Property Owners in Supreme Court Pipeline Fight

    IJ brief calls on the Court to reject government’s attempt to restrict landowners’ ability to fight eminent domain

    Arlington, Virginia—Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ) filed an amicus brief in PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC v. New Jersey, a U.S. Supreme Court case about the scope of private companies’ powers to take land through eminent domain to build pipelines under the Natural Gas Act. IJ’s brief urges the Court to reject arguments made by…

  • April 7, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Today, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a first-of-its-kind bill that would let individuals sue government agencies for violating their rights. Critically, the new legislation, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act (HB 4), would eliminate “qualified immunity” as a legal defense.  Under qualified immunity, government officials can only be held liable for violating someone’s…

  • April 6, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: How Qualified Immunity Allows Government Officials to Delay Access to Justice

    Castle Hills Officials Ask Appeals Court to Reinstate Immunity, Delaying Government Accountability Case

    Late last week, attorneys for three Castle Hills, Texas, officials appealed a ruling holding that they are not immune from suit. The officials, who were sued for throwing a 72-year-old city councilwoman in jail in an attempt to silence her criticism of the city, will ask the federal appeals court to grant them qualified immunity,…

  • April 6, 2021    |   Private Property

    Qualified Immunity: Where Did the Controversial Judicial Doctrine Come From?

    New podcast episode traces the origin of a doctrine that protects law enforcement from suits for violations of constitutional rights

    Arlington, Va.—Qualified immunity is the controversial judicial doctrine that allows law enforcement officers and other government officials to escape from lawsuits in which people allege that their constitutional rights were violated. Calls for the Supreme Court and lawmakers to reform or eliminate qualified immunity have echoed from across the political spectrum. But because qualified immunity…

  • April 6, 2021    |   Economic Liberty First Amendment

    Mental Health Professional Sues New York for the Right to Teleconference with Her Client

    When a pandemic waiver expires, online therapy by out-of-state counselors will be illegal, ending critical mental health services for many in the Empire State

    ALBANY, N.Y.—The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of New Yorkers. According to the New York State Health Foundation, more than one-third of New Yorkers reported poor mental health in 2020, three times the average before the pandemic. Yet despite the demand for mental health services, the state could soon make…

  • April 1, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Tallahassee, Fla.—With the Florida House of Representatives’ passage of House Bill 663, Florida moves one step closer to reforming rules on selling shelf-stable homemade food, commonly known as cottage foods. Florida law currently includes outdated requirements that do not exist in most states, and this overdue reform could lead to the creation of new small businesses across the Sunshine State. The Institute for Justice (IJ),…

  • March 31, 2021    |   Private Property

    Major Class Action Lawsuit Against TSA and DEA Over Airport Seizures Achieves First Round Victory

    Lawsuit filed by innocent flyers who each had tens of thousands of dollars taken from them will move forward

    PITTSBURGH—When travelers go online to find out whether it is legal to fly with cash, the government tells them that there are no restrictions on traveling with any amount of money on domestic flights. What it does not tell flyers is that, upon seeing cash, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners will detain them and turn…

  • March 29, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    National School Choice Advocate Stands Ready to Defend Kentucky’s New Educational Choice Program Against Anticipated Legal Challenge

    Institute for Justice (IJ) has won over 20 school choice lawsuits, including three at the U.S. Supreme Court

    Frankfort, Ky.—This evening, the Institute for Justice (IJ) announced that it stands ready to defend against an anticipated legal challenge to Kentucky’s newly enacted Education Opportunity Account (EOA) Program by opponents of educational choice. Earlier this evening, the Kentucky General Assembly overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of the legislation creating the program. The EOA Program…

  • March 25, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability Private Property

    Arlington, Virginia—Today, the Supreme Court held in Torres v. Madrid that a woman who was shot in the back by plain-clothed police officers may proceed with her Fourth Amendment challenge to the shooting. In a 5–3 decision, the Court rejected the officers’ argument that Roxanne Torres was not “seized” by their bullets merely because she…

  • March 23, 2021    |   Economic Liberty First Amendment

    Drone Operator Grounded by Self-interested Government Board Fights Back

    First Amendment lawsuit in North Carolina says surveyors cannot stop drone operators from selling photos and making maps

    Raleigh, N.C.—Drones are revolutionizing the way we view the world, making aerial photography easier and less expensive. But drone entrepreneurs on the cutting edge are finding a very old industry standing in the way: land surveying. In North Carolina, the Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors sends warnings to drone operators saying that certain…

  • March 23, 2021    |   Private Property

    IJ Urges Supreme Court to Reject Dangerous Expansion of “Community Caretaking” Doctrine

    Current ruling violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing police to barge into homes without a warrant as “community caretakers”

    Arlington, Virginia—In Caniglia v. Strom, to be argued on Wednesday, March 24, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the Fourth Amendment allows police to enter people’s homes without a warrant whenever an officer is acting as a “community caretaker.” The Institute for Justice (IJ) submitted a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Court to reject that…

  • March 22, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    New Mexico Senate Passes Homemade Food Act, Paving Way for More Cottage Food Businesses

    Bipartisan bill passed with near-unanimous support Saturday afternoon

    Santa Fe, N.M.—Saturday afternoon, the New Mexico Senate voted 38-2 to pass the Homemade Food Act, which would make it easier for New Mexicans to support their families by selling foods made in their home kitchens. The bill passed the New Mexico House of Representatives 63-1 earlier in March. Currently, New Mexico has one of…

  • March 19, 2021    |   First Amendment Private Property

    California Supreme Court Punts on Property Rights, Refuses to Hear Appeal of Receivership Abuse Victim Ron Mugar

    Mugar was ordered to pay over $60,000 in attorneys’ fees to Norco’s private law-firm prosecutor even after successfully getting his case dismissed

    Riverside, Calif.—Four years ago, Norco homeowner Ron Mugar dared to defend his property in court, and he won. Yet for doing so Ron was nonetheless punished. Norco’s for-profit code enforcement prosecutors—lawyers with Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak LLP—charged Ron over $60,000 for what they called “obstructive tactics.” It is illegal and brazen for a law firm…

  • March 19, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Supporters of the Homemade Food Act Ask New Mexico Senate To Consider Bill Today

    Bipartisan bill would bring relief to home cooks and bakers struggling during the pandemic

    When the New Mexico House of Representatives considered the Homemade Food Act, HB 177 last week—a bill to make it easier for people to support their families by selling foods made in their home kitchen—several legislators touted the bill as an example of the system working. In a time when partisan politics are at their…

  • March 19, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Federal Court Rules Coast Guard Violated Federal Law by Denying a Captain His Right to Earn a Living

    Coast Guard improperly interpreted its own regulations to bar the captain from taking an exam required to register as a Great Lakes pilot

    WASHINGTON—In a battle waged in a federal courtroom rather than the high seas, an experienced merchant mariner yesterday bested the Coast Guard and a private association, moving him a step closer to piloting ships on the Great Lakes. D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the Coast Guard violated federal law in denying Captain…

  • March 18, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Tx.—Late last year, Texas Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson struck down South Padre Island’s anti-competitive 12-permit cap and restaurant permission scheme, declaring them unconstitutional and ending two years of litigation. This was great news for area food truck owners, who began taking steps to take full advantage of the busy travel season kicking…

  • March 17, 2021    |   Private Property

    More than a dozen influential nonprofit organizations from across the political spectrum sent a coalition letter this week calling on Congress “to curb law enforcement’s power to use and abuse the practice of civil forfeiture by enacting strong reforms.” Under civil forfeiture, law enforcement can permanently confiscate property from innocent owners without ever charging them…


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