CIR is a nonprofit, public interest law firm dedicated to the defense of individual liberties. Each legal victory protects the right of individuals to think, act, and speak regardless of their point of view, religious belief, race, or ethnicity. Every contribution to CIR helps keep liberty alive in the courts.
More than Three Decades of Precedent-Setting Victories
Since CIR's founding in 1989, we have set an exceptionally high number of Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals precedents. Here is a timeline of our major litigation successes:
CIR Strikes Down Gender Preference in Radio Licenses
CIR represented North Carolina radio broadcaster J. Thomas Lamprecht in the first ever successful challenge of the FCC's policy of favoring radio license applications based on gender. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the agency policy.
CIR Transforms Establishment Clause
CIR's first Supreme Court win was a sweeping victory for religious organizations that allowed them to seek public funding on the same terms as secular organizations. It was the first of a decade of Supreme Court decisions that liberalized Establishment Clause jurisprudence.
First Victory Against Racial Preferences in 50 years
CIR successfully challenged the use of separate racial tracks for black and non-black applications to the University of Texas Law school Hopwood v. Texas was the first of many such challenges by CIR and others.
CIR Beats Federal Racial Gerrymandering
The Center for Individual Rights second major Supreme Court victory successfully challenged the DOJ's use of the Voting Rights Act to racially gerrymander voting districts in a Louisiana school district.
CIR Wins Historic Commerce Clause Case
On May 15, 2000, the Supreme Court decided one of the defining Commerce Clause cases of the last twenty years. The Court ruled that Congress may not expand its authority to regulate purely in-state criminal activity that has no substantial link to interstate commerce.
One of CIR's Biggest Victories for Religious Freedom
In Columbia Union College v. Oliver, CIR struck down a Maryland law that prevented a college associated with the Seventh Day Adventists from receiving state grant because state officials deemed the college to be too religious -- or "pervasively sectarian." The U.S. Court of Appeals ruling effectively ended the use of the "pervasively sectarian" doctrine.
Supreme Court Double Header Gratz v. Bollinger; Grutter v. Bollinger
CIR challenged racial preference programs at the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School before the Supreme Court. These cases moved the country and the law further against the use of invidious racial double standards than anyone thought possible.
CIR Wins Victory for Michigan Voters
CIR successfully defended the results of a Michigan ballot initiative prohibiting the use of racial preferences by the state, including state college admissions boards, from a legal challenge brought by radical pro-affirmative action activists.
CIR Leads the Fight Against Compulsory Union Dues
In Friedrichs v. CTA, CIR challenged the practice of public unions compelling non-union members to pay dues for the the right to work. Justice Scalia passed away shortly after oral arguments, resulting in an evenly divided court. But the Friedrichs strategy was adopted the following year in Janus v. AFSCME, which finally prohibited compulsory dues.