Fighting for Individual Rights
he 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.
“THE CENTER IS USUALLY CATEGORIZED AS CONSERVATIVE, BUT I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT A NUMBER OF ITS CASES AND I WOULD DESCRIBE THE CENTER AND ITS ATTORNEYS AS LIBERTARIAN.”
—NAT HENTOFF, THE VILLAGE VOICE
CIR takes an opportunistic approach to public interest law. Like a venture capital firm, we invest our resources in areas of the law that need reform and where we believe our expertise will help ensure a successful outcome.
We assemble our own, original litigation and generally do not file amicus briefs in the litigation of others. We look for cases with strong facts that can move a public agenda through years of litigation. This approach allows CIR to set the terms of public debate regardless of whether we win or lose in court. High profile litigation is an inherently speculative endeavor, but with four Supreme Court victories and a win-loss record at 80 percent, CIR’s rate of return justifies the risks.
“SEVERAL CONSERVATIVE GROUPS ARE FIGHTING SIMILAR BATTLES…BUT CIR HAS BEEN ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE, CAREFULLY SELECTING BOTH ITS BATTLES AND THE CIRCUITS THEY FIGHT THEM IN, WITH AN EYE TO VICTORY.”
CIR provides free legal representation to deserving clients who cannot otherwise afford or obtain legal counsel and whose individual rights are threatened. We represent real individuals who have been harmed by expansive state action. Demonstrating the concrete harms of the modern welfare state helps set legal precedent and, just as important, furthers the public case for limited government.
CIR’s areas of expertise
To be an effective legal advocate, CIR concentrates its resources in those areas where individual rights are most at risk. Our current litigation focuses on three areas:
Free Speech: CIR has established dozens of legal precedents designed to counter the selective use of the First Amendment to disfavor speech based on the political views of the speaker.
- Civil Rights: Almost alone among civil libertarian firms, CIR has brought a series of high profile cases designed to get the government out of the business of classifying citizens by race.
- Limited government: CIR seeks to restore a principled conception of limited government. To that end, it has challenged both excessive federal authority and unconstitutional action by state regulators. Our goal is to get the federal and state governments out of the everyday lives of individuals.