Our Mission

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense of individual liberties against the increasingly aggressive and unchecked authority of federal and state governments.

CIR seeks to enforce constitutional limits on federal and state governments. We are not a legal services firm nor a public policy institute. Rather, we aggressively litigate and publicize a handful of carefully selected cases that advance the right of individuals to govern themselves according to the natural exercise of their own reason. Our cases challenge excessive government regulation, unconstitutional state action, and other entanglements characteristic of the modern state. We make no apologies for bringing only those cases that overtly advance this agenda.

Antonio Morrison’s mother on steps of Supreme Court (U.S. v. Morrison, 2000)

A Brief History

The Center for Individual Rights began operations in April 1989. The founders, Michael McDonald and Michael Greve, met through their work at the Washington Legal Foundation. McDonald, an attorney, specialized in First Amendment litigation and had launched WLF’s Legal Studies Division in 1987; Greve, in turn, wrote on environmental issues and assisted with WLF’s fundraising.

Prior to that time, the conservative public interest law movement generally had been hindered by two problems: first, many conservative firms tended to avoid original litigation, preferring instead to file cost-saving (but largely ineffectual) amicus briefs; and, second, these firms generally maintained large legal staffs, a circumstance which required substantial fundraising activities.

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Our Staff

Career Opportunities

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