Current Cases

Case Status: Pending

Rynearson v. Bass

August 27th 2021

Together with Christopher Day, Esq., CIR is representing Richard Rynearson, a retired Air Force command pilot and field grade officer, whose right to free speech was violated when Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass banned him from an official Air Force Facebook page because he criticized one of her posts...

Case Status: Pending

Norman Wang v. University of Pittsburgh et al.

December 15th 2020

CIR is representing Dr. Norman Wang, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who was disciplined for publishing an article in a scientific journal that analyzed the extent and effect of racial preferences in medical education over the last fifty years. Wang has been on the faculty at the School of Medicine...

Case Status: Pending

Jeffrey Barke et. al v. Eric Banks et al.

February 21st 2020

CIR is representing seven California elected officials in an effort stop the enforcement of Section 3550, a California law that prohibits public employers from criticizing public employee unions...

Case Status: Victory in District Court. Defendants are appealing.

Davi v. Hein

September 13th 2016

Since 2010, Davi has served as a Hearing Officer and an Administrative Law Judge in New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. In this role, Davi hears the appeals of those who are initially denied eligibility for New York’s public assistance programs and then makes recommendations to his superiors on whether or not...

Timeline

CIR's has a long record of defending the individual right of free speech wherever it is threatened whether from campus speech codes, unions, or federal agencies.

Silva v. University of New Hampshire

Sep 1994

Silva v. University of New Hampshire

CIR's case against UNH was the first challenge to university speech codes that punished those who expressed politically incorrect sentiments.

White v. Lee

Sep 2000

White v. Lee

CIR represented three Berkeley residents who were targeted by HUD for an intrusive civil rights investigation and threatened with massive fines when they protested a proposal to build a homeless shelter in their neighborhood.

Boystown v. SCSD

Jul 2001

Boystown v. SCSD

Southeast Citizens for Smart Development was concerned about Boys Town’s plans to put troubled teenagers into a "fragile neighborhood that has been plagued by open-air drug markets.” When Boys Town attempted to twist the Fair Housing Act to silence SCSD, CIR came to their rescue.

Sypniewski v. Warren Hills R.S.D.

Feb 2005

Sypniewski v. Warren Hills R.S.D.

With the help of the Center for Individual Rights, Thomas Sypniewski, a high-achieving senior at a Washington, N.J., public high school, prevailed in his several year fight for his First Amendment rights after being suspended in 2001 for wearing a t-shirt listing the “Top 10 Reasons You Might Be A Redneck Sports Fan.”

Hinkle v. Baker

Jul 2003

Hinkle v. Baker

CIR protected the free speech of a college student who was charged with disrupting a campus event, ordered to write an apology, and threatened with expulsion solely for attempting to post a flier promoting a on a public bulletin board located in a student lounge area in the Multicultural Center.

Vera v. O'Keefe

Mar 2013

Vera v. O'Keefe

CIR's defended undercover independent journalist, James O'Keefe, after his uncovering of several scandals exposed him to political backlash and legal trouble.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Jun 2016

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

In Friedrichs v. CTA, CIR challenged the authority of public sector unions to collect compulsory dues for non-members. Such dues forced teachers to endorse union positions school budgets, class sizes, and other inherently political issues.

Desmond v. Harris

May 2017

Desmond v. Harris

CIR represented Timothy Desmond, an artist and historian, who was forbidden from displaying his civil war painting at a county fair because it depicted the confederate flag.

Past Cases

Case Status: Petition for Certiorari denied October 7, 2019.

Seeberger v. Davenport Civil Rights Commission et al.

May 28th 2019

Seeberger rented a room in a single family house that she owned to Michelle Schreurs and her then fifteen-year-old daughter for $300 per month. Upon hearing that Schreurs’ daughter was pregnant, Seeberger evicted Schruers and explained that it was because her daughter was pregnant. An Administrative Law Judge found that Seeberger had made discriminatory statements regarding familial status...

Case Status: Case dismissed in wake of decision in Janus v. AFSCME

Yohn v. California Teachers Association

February 6th 2017

On February 6, The Center for Individual Rights filed a lawsuit against the state of California and the California Teachers Association on behalf of eight California public school teachers and the Association of American Educators. The teachers are challenging California’s “agency shop” law, which violates the First Amendment by forcing them to pay annual fees to the union – even if they are not a member...

Case Status: Victory

Desmond v. Harris et. al.

August 16th 2016

CIR represented Timothy Desmond, an artist, author, and retired school-teacher from Fresno, California, who was denied the right to display his painting in an art competition at a county fair because his depiction of the civil war featured an image of the confederate flag, supposedly in violation of a state law prohibiting the government from displaying confederate flags in public spaces...

Case Status: Victory

Burke v. Doe

February 19th 2014

CIR is representing an anonymous Wikipedia editor in a precedent-seeting case designed to establish the First Amendment right of anonymous internet authors to remain anonymous...

Case Status: Dismissed. Dismissal affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al.

January 25th 2014

CIR represented ten California teachers and the Christian Educators Association International in a landmark effort to re-establish the right of individual teachers and other public employees to decide for themselves whether to join and support a union...

Case Status: Successfully closed. The Maryland case was dismissed, the Pennsylvania case was settled, O'Keefe entered into a plea agreement in the New Orleans case, and the California case was settled.

Vera v. O'Keefe

March 15th 2011

CIR successfully defended James O’Keefe, who was sued in three different states for recording conversations with ACORN officials under state laws that make it illegal to record a conversation without the consent of the other party...

Case Status: Victory. Case settled on favorable terms

Project Vote v. MonCrief

August 6th 2009

CIR represented Anita MonCrief, a former employee of Project Vote, a subsidiary of ACORN. After she left Project Vote in 2008, Ms. MonCrief became a vocal critic of both organizations. In 2009, Project Vote filed suit to silence Ms. MonCrief...

Case Status: Victory. While the case was pending in the Third Circuit, the plaintiff agreed to settle the case on terms favorable to our client.

Wolk v. Olson

May 12th 2009

When attorney Ted Frank posted a blog entry on a legal reform website, he had no way of knowing that he would one day be sued in an effort to punish him for his spirited stance. CIR took on Frank's defense to protect his vital First Amendment right to speak freely about the actions of a public figure...

Case Status: Victory. Case settled on favorable terms.

Waltz v. Brumfield

August 9th 2008

The Center for Individual Rights filed suit against several officials of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing on behalf of California resident Julie Waltz, alleging that state officials used a housing discrimination investigation to stifle criticism of its policies relating to the placement of sex offenders in residential neighborhoods...

Case Status: Victory. New York appellate court ordered immediate reinstatement.

McConnell v. Le Moyne College

August 3rd 2005

In 2005, CIR filed suit against Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, for removing a graduate student in education solely because of the point of view he expressed in a paper...

Case Status: Victory: All IRS subpoenas withdrawn

Hendrickson v. U.S.; Hart v. U.S.

August 12th 2004

CIR defended two authors who had published books that were critical of the IRS and US tax code after the IRS launched costly invasive investigations in response to their work...

Case Status: Victory. University settled on terms favorable to student.

Hinkle v. Baker

September 25th 2003

In 2003, CIR represented Steven Hinkle, a student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, who was dragged before a school tribunal and threatened with expulsion solely for exercising his right to free speech by advertising an upcoming lecture in the student lounge area...

Case Status: Victory

Boys Town v. SCSD

August 14th 2001

CIR victory helps DC community activists fight effort to silence them. One of the bedrock principles of democratic self-rule is that citizens have a constitutional right to speak out about matters of public concern -- particularly to their elected representatives and governmental bodies...

Case Status: Settled on favorable terms -- Defendants agreed to a judgement in Prof. Willand's favor.

Willand v. Alexander

August 9th 2001

CIR represented a Minnesota professor who was prohibted from saying anything that someone might find offensive after putting a poster of General George Custer on his office door and otherwise deviating from a politically correct view of American history...

Case Status: Victory

Perez v. Posse Comitatus

August 6th 2001

CIR defended Sachem Quality of Life, a non-profit community group designed to deal with the explosion of illegal immigration in the Farmingville area of Long Island after some local labor groups asserted the organization was violating their rights...

Case Status: Victory. Plaintiff's motion to dismiss remaining claims was granted.

Sypniewski v. Warren Hills R.S.D.

June 25th 2001

In 2001, CIR working together with New York law firm KMZRosenman filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Thomas Sypniewski, a high-achieving senior at a Washington, N.J., public high school, after he was suspended for wearing a Jeff Foxworthy t-shirt...

Case Status: Victory. Defendant Compton's motion for Summary Judgment granted on August 31, 2000.

Affordable Housing Development Corp. v. Fresno

August 13th 2000

CIR won an important free speech victory in 2006 in its defense of California resident Travis Compton. Compton had been accused of federal housing discrimination by a low-income housing developer angry over Compton’s public comments critical of the developer’s plans to seek tax exempt bond funding for his project...

Case Status: Loss. District court injunction granting "cease and desist" order affirmed by 6th Circuit. Supreme Court denied owner's petition to review D.C. Cir. ruling denying review of FCC procedures.

U.S. v. Szoka

August 9th 2000

CIR defended the owner of low power, non-commercial radio station, Grid Radio 96.9 FM in Cleveland, in “cease and desist” prosecution brought against it by Federal Communications Commission and represented it in a constitutional challenge to FCC’s refusal to issue licenses to low-wattage micro-broadcasters...

Case Status: Settled in Prof. Deming's favor

Deming v. University of Oklahoma

July 24th 2000

CIR represented a professor who was accused of sexual harassment on the basis of an article that he published in the University of Oklahoma's daily newspaper...

Case Status: Loss

Gee v. Humphries

January 23rd 1995

CIR challenged a state college's suspension and termination of Gerald Gee, a white professor who was said to have "harassed" students at historically black Florida A&M University...

Case Status: Victory

Silva v. University of New Hampshire

October 15th 1993

CIR's 1994 victory against the University of New Hampshire was the first successful case against university speech codes and an affirmation of First Amendment rights in the classroom...

Case Status: Victory. U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed district court order granting summary judgment.

White v. Lee

April 19th 1993

In 1993, CIR challenged the use of federal housing discrimination law to suppress opposition to public housing projects...

View All Past Cases & Amicus Briefs

Amicus Briefs

Case Status: Loss: Petition for Certiorari denied June 24, 2019

Perryman v. Romero

March 22nd 2019

The Center for Individual Rights filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear Perryman v. Romero and act to defend the First Amendment rights of class action plaintiffs...

Case Status: Certiorari Denied

Gerawan Farming v. ALRB

May 15th 2018

CIR filed an amicus brief on behalf of California agricultural workers in a Supreme Court case challenging a California law that imposes labor contract on unwilling employees...

Case Status: Remanded and Dismissed

Frank v. Gaos

May 3rd 2018

In Frank v. Gaos, the issue of cy pres awards, which give plaintiff’s money away to third party groups in class action litigation, came before the Supreme Court. CIR’s amicus brief urged the Supreme Court to review the case and argued that cy pres awards violate the First Amendment by compelling plaintiffs to support third party charities without their consent...

Case Status: Pending

Virgin Islands v. ExxonMobil

June 3rd 2016

CIR filed an amicus brief arguing that the Competitive Enterprise Institute should receive attorney's fees after fighting off an illegal subpoena from the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands...

Case Status: Loss. Court refused to consider brief.

U.S. v. Westchester County

May 10th 2016

CIR filed an amicus brief in support of Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino and his effort to fend off an overreaching federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)...

Case Status: Victory

Serafine v. Branaman

January 19th 2016

CIR filed an amicus brief in support of Dr. Mary Louise Serafine who faced criminal charges under a Texas law that makes it illegal to call oneself a "psychologist" without being licensed in the state. CIR's amicus brief argued that the law violated the First Amendment because it was overbroad...

Case Status: Victory

U.S. v. Elonis

August 22nd 2014

CIR filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in the case Elonis v. United States. The petitioner, Anthony Elonis, is appealing his federal conviction for posting rap lyrics on his Facebook page that his ex-wife had found threatening...

Case Status: Loss

Aguilar v. Avis Rent-A-Car

August 13th 2012

CIR filed an amicus brief contesting court-ordered injunction prohibiting "offensive" epithets in the workplace as unlawful prior restraint of constitutionally protected speech...

Case Status: Loss. Supreme Court ruled that schools may restrict speech supporting illegal drug use.

Morse v. Frederick

March 16th 2007

CIR filed an amicus brief in this important free speech case concerning the authority of school officials to punish high school students for speech they deem contrary to the mission or work of the school, including off-campus speech...

Case Status: Victory

Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television Production

June 22nd 2004

CIR filed an amicus brief urging California Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that discussion of sexual themes in writers' meetings for the television show 'Friends' created a hostile work environment and is not protected by the First Amendment...

Case Status: Settled by stipulation filed July 6, 1999.

Hampton v. National Research Group

July 18th 1999

CIR filed an amicus brief urging the California Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that discussion of sexual themes in writers' meetings for the television show 'Friends' created a hostile work environment and is not protected by the First Amendment...