Press Releases

  • June 23, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Final Victory for North Dakota Cottage Food Producers

    The Cottage Food Act is safe after the N.D. Health Department makes clear the legal fight is over

    BISMARCK, N.D.— Cottage food producers across the state can now rest assured that they can sell their homemade foods—like pizzas, mac and cheese, and canned vegetables—exactly as the state Legislature had intended when it passed the Cottage Food Act. Last December, North Dakota Judge Cynthia M. Feland ruled that the North Dakota Department of Health…

  • June 23, 2021

    Family-Owned Hardware Store Asks Federal Court to Halt Eminent Domain

    Town of Southold quietly moved to take the Brinkmanns’ property just a day after they filed a federal lawsuit

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.—The family owners of a chain of Long Island hardware stores are asking a federal judge to immediately halt the town of Southold’s attempt to take their property through eminent domain. On May 4, the Brinkmann family filed a federal lawsuit seeking to protect their right to use the Southold property they own…

  • June 23, 2021    |   Private Property

    ARLINGTON, Va.—The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously rejected a sweeping rule that would have allowed police to enter people’s homes without a warrant just to pursue suspected misdemeanants. Today’s opinion in Lange v. California echoes points stressed in an amicus brief submitted by the Institute for Justice. The case arose from a minor traffic offense.…

  • June 23, 2021    |   Private Property

    Federal Judge Slaps Down Government in Challenge to U.S. Private Vaults Seizures

    Newly granted restraining order stops forfeiture of security deposit box contents for plaintiffs in Institute for Justice lawsuit

    LOS ANGELES—Late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted a temporary restraining order that stops the government from using civil forfeiture to take the contents of safe deposit boxes seized in the FBI’s raid on Beverly Hills company U.S. Private Vaults. Jeni Pearsons and her husband Michael Storc, along with Joseph Ruiz and Travis…

  • June 22, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Vietnam Vet Assaulted by Fed. Police Asks Supreme Court to Reconsider His Fourth Amendment Lawsuit

    In his petition for rehearing, José Oliva emphasizes that federal police should not be entitled to absolute immunity.

    ARLINGTON, Va.—In Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi federal police are now entitled to absolute immunity from individual accountability, even when they grossly violate someone’s constitutional rights. That’s because the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that even if federal police beat you for no reason and almost choke you to death—and even if you…

  • June 16, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Wisconsin Home Bakers Score Win in Court; Judge Rejects State’s Attempt to Dismiss Case

    Lawsuit filed by Wisconsin food producers challenging state’s homemade shelf-stable good ban will move forward

    DARLINGTON, Wis.—Today, Judge Rhonda L. Lanford, presiding over Lafayette County Circuit Court, denied a request from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to dismiss a lawsuit brought by seven Wisconsinites and the Wisconsin Cottage Food Association with the Institute for Justice (IJ) challenging the state’s ban on homemade shelf-stable foods. In…

  • June 15, 2021

    More U.S. Private Vault Renters Step Forward to Fight the FBI’s Efforts to Steal Over $85 Million Using Civil Forfeiture

    These owners have not been charged with any crime, but the government is trying to permanently take their most prized possessions—without telling them why

    LOS ANGELES—Using civil forfeiture, the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to permanently take the contents of hundreds of safe deposit boxes, including over $85 million in cash and precious metals, jewelry and other valuables worth millions more. But the boxes’ owners have not been accused of any crime and have not been told what…

  • June 10, 2021    |   Private Property

    Victory for Tyson Timbs: Indiana Man Keeps Car After Eight-Year Legal Battle

    The Indiana Supreme Court confirms that forfeiting Tyson’s car violates the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause

    Arlington, Va.—Indiana man Tyson Timbs’s fight against civil forfeiture made national news in February 2019, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause applies not just to the federal government, but to the states as well. That decision established a rule of law for Americans nationwide. But it didn’t get…

  • June 10, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    New Report: DC Must Cut Red Tape for Local Businesses to Pave the Path to Recovery

    New bill addresses major problems identified in the report

    WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced the Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive (BEST) Amendment Act of 2021, to streamline the licensing process for new and existing businesses. Today, a new report by the Institute for Justice (IJ) underscores the vital need to pass this reform—especially as so many recover from the personal and financial burdens of the pandemic.   The report, Blueprint for Business: Cutting Red Tape and Supporting DC…

  • June 10, 2021    |   Economic Liberty First Amendment

    North Carolina Board Tells Retired Engineer He Can’t Talk About Engineering

    Wilmington resident files First Amendment lawsuit to protect his right to speak from his expertise and experience

    WILMINGTON, N.C.—Wayne Nutt is an engineer. He graduated with a degree in engineering and worked most of his career in North Carolina without ever needing a license to actually work as an engineer. But now, the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors is telling Wayne that speaking publicly about engineering without a…

  • June 9, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Kentucky Families Fight to Defend the State’s Bold New School Choice Program 

    A legal attack attempts to end Kentucky’s “Education Opportunity Account” (EOA) Program  

    FRANKFORT, Ky.—Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ)  moved to intervene on behalf of Florence, Kentucky, parent Akia McNeary and Newport, Kentucky, great-grandparent Nancy Deaton to defend Kentucky’s bold new school choice program, the Education Opportunity Account (EOA) Program, from a lawsuit filed Monday. IJ is the nation’s leading advocate for school choice, having won 24 school choice litigation fights, including three at the…

  • June 9, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Maine School Choice Case Appealed to Supreme Court Now Fully Briefed

    State Discriminates Against Parents Who Choose Schools That Reinforce Their Values

    Arlington, Virginia—With briefing now complete, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will conference on June 24 to consider whether to grant review in Carson v. Makin, a school choice case arising out of Maine. The Institute for Justice (“IJ”) is asking this nation’s highest court to resolve a question with nationwide implications for parents…

  • May 28, 2021    |   Private Property

    The Illinois Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the Illinois Vegetable Garden Protection Act (HB 633), a bill that would preserve and protect the right of all Illinoisans to “cultivate vegetable gardens on their own property.” Introduced by Rep. Sonya Harper, the Act would protect the right to grow vegetables, as well as “herbs, fruits, flowers,…

  • May 28, 2021    |   Private Property

    FBI Offers to Return Property to Some Security Deposit Box Owners… Maybe Sometime in the Next Few Weeks

    After Paul and Jennifer Snitko filed a class action lawsuit, the FBI called to say it will be in touch for a “secondary phone call” about returning property

    LOS ANGELES—Just after publicly announcing that they had teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a federal class action lawsuit protesting the warrantless seizure of the security deposit box they rented from U.S. Private Vaults, Paul and Jennifer Snitko got a voicemail from the FBI. In the voicemail, an agent informed them…

  • May 27, 2021    |   Private Property

    Security Deposit Box Owners Step Forward to Demand FBI Return Property Seized Without a Warrant

    National law firm files first class action suit with named plaintiffs in U.S. Private Vaults seizure

    LOS ANGELES—This morning, the Institute for Justice (IJ), a national public-interest law firm, filed suit in federal court demanding that the FBI return items it seized from hundreds of people in a March raid of a Beverly Hills security deposit box company. While previous suits have been filed on behalf of anonymous plaintiffs, this is…

  • May 27, 2021    |   Private Property

    Landlord and Tenants Sue Over Orange City, Iowa’s Unconstitutional Home Inspections

    Orange City threatens Iowans with non-consensual, pointless searches of unwilling tenants

    Orange City, Iowa—A foundation of the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions is that your home is sacred. Nobody should be forced to let a stranger into their home for no good reason, and, according to both constitutions, you cannot be. But that has not stopped Orange City from trying to. This February, amid a spike in…

  • May 26, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Minnesota Soon to Dramatically Expand Cottage Food Businesses

    New law will raise sales cap, simplify rules

    As part of an omnibus agriculture bill Gov. Tim Walz signed on Tuesday, Minnesota will loosen restrictions on cottage food businesses, which let residents sell homemade, shelf-stable food. The bill, SF 958, more than quadruples the state’s annual sales cap for cottage food businesses, raising it from $18,000 to $78,000. Further expanding economic opportunity, cottage…

  • May 26, 2021    |   Private Property

    Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill late Tuesday that strengthens safeguards against civil forfeiture, which lets the government seize and keep cash, cars, and other valuables without ever charging the owner with a crime. Alabama has long had some of the nation’s worst civil forfeiture laws, receiving a D- in a 2020 report by the Institute for Justice. Under…

  • May 24, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Supreme Court Rejects Veteran’s Attempt to Sue VA Hospital Police Who Assaulted Him in Unprovoked Attack

    José Oliva Sought to Vindicate His 4th Amendment Rights He and the Institute for Justice vow to continue the fight to end absolute immunity for federal police and restore the system of constitutional accountability guaranteed by the republic’s founders.

    ARLINGTON, Va.—If you are in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, you now cannot sue federal police for violating your constitutional rights, no matter how egregious their conduct. The Supreme Court today refused to hear a case—Oliva v. Nivar—that would have allowed government officials to be held to account. As a result, the erroneous lower court decision…

  • May 20, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Judge Blocks Wisconsin’s Arbitrary and Unconstitutional Ban on Home-Baked Goods Made Without Flour

    A 2017 order declared Wisconsin’s ban on home-baked goods unconstitutional, yet state regulators still banned sales of baked goods without flour

    DARLINGTON, Wisc.—This afternoon, Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge Duane M. Jorgenson ruled that Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) had not been following a 2017 order that declared the state’s ban on the sale of home-baked good sales unconstitutional. Specifically, DATCP had continued to ban home-baked goods made without flour such as…

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