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Press Releases

  • September 23, 2021

    Six South Side Businesses Selected for Finals in Pitch Showcase

    Eighth annual South Side Pitch goes online and highlights how existing businesses are confronting the challenges of 2021

    Six South Side businesses will compete October 21 in the finals of the eighth annual South Side Pitch. As it did last year, the competition is highlighting existing businesses that are taking on the challenges of 2021 in new and unique ways. This year contestants will give their pitches to the judges at the University…

  • September 22, 2021    |   Private Property

    Wilmington Residents File Lawsuit Challenging City’s Unconstitutional Impound Racket

    Wilmington pays private tow companies by letting them keep and scrap cars

    Wilmington, Del.—Wilmington contracts out its municipal impound system to private towing companies and funds the whole system by letting these companies wrongfully take and keep people’s cars. The city pays these companies nothing for their services, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The price of Wilmington’s “cost-free” impound services falls squarely on…

  • September 14, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    ARLINGTON, Va.—What does it take to hold federal police accountable for using excessive force? That question is once again being raised with cases being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. And it’s coming to the Justices in the form of a petition from Kevin Byrd, a Texas mechanic who was almost shot to death by…

  • September 14, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    ARLINGTON, Va.—More than 30 amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) briefs have been filed in Carson v. Makin, calling for greater educational choice for parents and their children. Carson, which is being litigated by the Institute for Justice (IJ), is expected to set a landmark precedent when it comes to education reform. In the case, the U.S. Supreme Court will…

  • September 13, 2021    |   Economic Liberty First Amendment

    Private Investigator Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Important First Amendment Case

    Maine’s Department of Public Safety denied Joshua Gray an occupational license because he criticized police conduct in a fatal shooting

    Arlington, Va.—Earlier this month, Joshua Gray, a private investigator from Massachusetts, filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to reverse a decision by the Maine Department of Public Safety denying him a license as a professional investigator in Maine. The Department based its denial on the fact that it…

  • September 10, 2021    |   Private Property

    New Orleans-Area Residents Vow To Appeal Dismissal Of Lawsuit Challenging Due Process Violations in Criminal Proceedings

    The class action suit targets the personal, financial and political relationship between a judge and a private ankle-monitoring company

    NEW ORLEANS—Today, a federal district court granted an ankle monitoring company’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit challenging the company’s violation of New Orleans criminal defendants’ right to neutral adjudication in conjunction with former Judge Paul A. Bonin. The plaintiffs, Marshall Sookram and Hakeem Meade, will appeal the decision. Represented by the Institute for…

  • September 8, 2021    |   Private Property

    Family Farm Facing Ruinous Fines for Paperwork Mistake Sues Agency that Acts as Prosecutor, Judge and Jury

    Constitutional challenge to U.S. Department of Labor asks government to give Americans their day in court, not their day in front of a bureaucrat

    CAMDEN, N.J.—A new lawsuit launched by a fourth-generation family farm asks whether a single government agency can act as prosecutor, judge and jury when handing out potentially ruinous fines. Sun Valley Orchards, a produce farm in Swedesboro, N.J., is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), mostly…

  • September 1, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    CLEARWATER, Fla.—Today, the owners of a Florida food truck vowed to continue their legal battle against Tarpon Springs after a Florida court decided that they could not sue the city over an ordinance that requires independently operated food trucks to use someone else’s name in order to operate downtown. Elijah and Ashley Durham opened SOL…

  • September 1, 2021    |   Private Property

    Last February, while driving down a Nevada highway on the way to visit his daughters, Stephen Lara was robbed in plain sight. But his assailants were not ordinary criminals—they were police officers from Nevada Highway Patrol. Using a controversial legal tactic called civil forfeiture, the officers fabricated a reason to stop Lara, detained him for…

  • August 30, 2021    |   Private Property

    Class Action Lawsuit Seeks to Dismantle Houston’s Illegal and Unconstitutional Forfeiture Machine

    Harris County has a practice of inventing reasons to seize motorists’ property for its own profit

    HOUSTON—Harris County police and prosecutors systematically abuse the constitutional rights of drivers, seizing cash and other property without probable cause, and quickly filing lawsuits to keep the seized cash in their own budgets using civil forfeiture. Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ)—a national nonprofit law firm—is fighting back with a class-action lawsuit challenging Harris County’s…

  • August 30, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Governor Signs Bill Making It Easier for Illinoisans to Sell Their Homemade and Homegrown Foods

    Home-to-Market Act eliminates a patchwork of local rules that held back food businesses

    CHICAGO—Late Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed SB 2007, the Home-to-Market Act, legislation which will allow home bakers and farmers in Illinois to sell their foods more easily. The bill sweeps away a patchwork of regulations that made it difficult for food entrepreneurs to sell directly to their customers and that severely limited how much they…

  • August 30, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Final Victory for Food Trucks in Fort Pierce: Judgment Proclaims City’s Former Anticompetitive Ordinance Unconstitutional

    Fort Pierce had one of the most anticompetitive vending restrictions in the country. Now, it cannot come back.

    FORT PIERCE, Fla.—Late Friday afternoon, food truck entrepreneurs Benny Diaz and Brian Peffer achieved final victory in the lawsuit they filed in December 2018 alongside the Institute for Justice (IJ) that challenged Fort Pierce’s ban on food trucks operating within 500 feet of a restaurant. This consent final judgment entered by Judge Elizabeth Metzger will…

  • August 24, 2021    |   Private Property

    Roseau Landowner Coalition Condemns Denial of Environmental Impact Statement for Roseau Lake Project

    An Environmental Impact Statement would have provided valuable information about the costs of the project. Landowners vow to keep fighting.

    ROSEAU, Minn.—Yesterday afternoon, Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) dealt a sharp blow to property rights in Roseau by announcing it would not require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its Roseau Lake Rehabilitation project. The project has generated controversy for threatening to make productive, multigenerational farmland of over fifty families unusable, as well as…

  • August 17, 2021    |   Private Property

    New Orleans Man Fights the Federal Government for His Life Savings

    Lower Ninth Ward resident had nearly $30,000 seized from him at the Columbus, Ohio airport but was never charged with a crime

    NEW ORLEANS—Kermit Warren is a hard worker, a grandfather and the head deacon of his church in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Over the years, he diligently set aside cash from his jobs, saving nearly $30,000. But now, his money is in the hands of the federal government, which is trying to take…

  • August 12, 2021

    Washington Supreme Court Finds Excessive Fines Unconstitutional

    Decision says governments must consider someone’s ability to pay before imposing fines

    SEATTLE—Today, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that depriving someone of their shelter—in this case a truck—constitutes an excessive fine under the U.S. Constitution. The case, City of Seattle v. Long, No. 98824-2, comes after the U.S. Supreme Court held three years ago that state and local governments must abide the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which prohibits…

  • August 9, 2021    |   Private Property

    Family Farm in Town of Eagle Wins Early Court Victory Against Out-of-Control Fines and Fees

    Court order halts inspection and enforcement actions that violated First Amendment right to criticize town government

    MILWAUKEE—A small, veteran-owned farm in the Town of Eagle won an early court victory in its legal challenge against fines and fees that were issued after the owners criticized local officials. In December 2020, Erica and Zach Mallory, owners of Mallory Meadows, teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to protect their home and…

  • August 9, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Supreme Court Must Decide: Will Federal Police Remain Above the Law?

    Cases Appealed to Supreme Court Seek to Hold Federal Officers Accountable for Constitutional Violations

    Arlington, Va.—Nearly 60 million Americans now live in states where federal police can escape accountability even when they clearly violate someone’s constitutional rights. But two cases appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Institute for Justice (IJ) seek to change that. On August 6, 2021, IJ filed two petitions with the U.S. Supreme Court…

  • 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…


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