The Institute for Justice has litigated nine cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, losing just once. A decision is pending in the most recent case, Brownback v. King. A victory would prevent the government from creating a new loophole that would allow federal officials to escape accountability when they violate someone’s constitutional rights.
Collectively, the cases represent all four of IJ’s litigation pillars: educational choice, economic liberty, free speech and property rights. In its first U.S. Supreme Court case in 2002, IJ successfully defended the constitutionality of a school choice program in Ohio. Nearly a decade later, IJ successfully defended Arizona’s Individual Scholarship Tax Credit, which has expanded private school options for tens of thousands of parents. In 2020 IJ won Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which prevents states from discriminating against religious options in generally available scholarship programs.
IJ also fought against protectionist alcohol regulations in 2005 and 2019. Thanks to high court victories in those cases, states cannot treat out-of-state wineries different than in-state wineries and cannot require new residents to wait years before being eligible for a liquor license.
In 2011, IJ won its challenge against Arizona’s “Clean Elections” system for discouraging free speech. And in a major property rights case in 2019, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of excessive fines applies to the states.
IJ’s only Supreme Court loss, Kelo v. New London, produced a victory in the court of public opinion, leading to reforms and court decisions in 47 states that better protect property rights.