Press Releases

  • 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 Florida law currently includes outdated requirements that do not exist in most states, and this overdue reform could lead to the creation of new small businesses across the Sunshine State.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…

  • March 17, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Arlington, Virginia—Last week, a collection of ten different “friends of the court” urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a school choice case arising out of Maine. The question before the Court is whether states may bar families from participating in student-aid programs simply because they send their children to schools that provide religious instruction.…

  • March 16, 2021    |   Private Property

    Washington Supreme Court to Hear Significant Excessive Fines Case

    Seattle Charged $547 to a Homeless Man After Impounding the Truck in Which He Lived

    SEATTLE—This morning, the Washington Supreme Court will hear argument in City of Seattle v. Long, a case concerning the Excessive Fines Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court will consider whether the clause prohibits the city of Seattle from imposing a $547 charge on a homeless man after the city impounded the truck in which…

  • March 15, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Texas Federal Judge Tosses Qualified Immunity Defense in First Amendment Retaliation Case

    Castle Hills, Tx. woman wins first round in a constitutional suit to vindicate political speech rights

    On Friday Sylvia Gonzalez—a retiree and former Castle Hills, Texas, councilmember thrown in jail for speaking out against her local government—got the news she has waited more than a year to hear. In a powerful ruling issued Friday afternoon, Judge David Alan Ezra dismissed the city’s motion to dismiss and ruled that her case alleging…

  • March 11, 2021    |   Private Property

    Lawsuit: Florida Parents Partner with IJ to Shut Down Dystopian “Predictive Policing” Program

    Institute for Justice lawsuit alleges that Pasco police harass and fine homeowners to make their “lives miserable until they move or sue.” Today, they sued.

    Resources Press Conference Video Read the lawsuit Read the in-depth media backgrounder Download photos Pasco County, Florida’s future policing program is as dystopian as it is unconstitutional. Under the guise of “predictive policing,” for the last 10 years the Pasco County sheriff’s department has used a crude computer algorithm to identify and target supposed “future…

  • March 9, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    New Lawsuit Seeks to End Colorado’s Transportation Monopoly Law

    Immigrant Entrepreneur Blocked from Starting Shuttle Service by Existing Shuttle Companies Under Colorado Monopoly Law

    Arlington, Va.—Abdallah Batayneh just wants to start a new shuttle service in Steamboat Springs, but Colorado law allows existing transportation companies to veto new businesses in their regions. Today, in order to clear the way for himself and other entrepreneurs in Colorado, Abdallah is partnering with the Institute for Justice (IJ) in a lawsuit to…

  • March 8, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Lincoln, Neb.—Homemade food producers will soon be free to sell their goods within Lincoln without being forced to follow burdensome regulations by the city. Under an amended ordinance, set to take effect on March 15, cottage food producers registered under LB 304 simply have to register with the city, and inspections are only allowed under…

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