The Courage of IJ Clients



The Courage of IJ Clients

By John E. Kramer

Lou Ann and Scott Mullen took a courageous stand against government barriers to interracial adoption, and won.

Freedom isn’t secured by the faint of heart. Freedom is fought for and earned—each day—by men and women willing to stand up and insist upon their rights. That’s why so much has been written over the centuries about courage, from Pericles, who said freedom is the fruit of courage, to the last line of our National Anthem, which explains that if America is to remain the land of the free, we must also be the home of the brave.
What makes the courage displayed by the Institute for Justice’s clients so remarkable is not only the courage they show once we’ve joined them in the fight, but their willingness to stand up for what’s right long before we’ve arrived and long after we’ve left. Oftentimes, after our litigation is successfully concluded, our clients must face again the government bureaucracies that made their lives miserable as these entrepreneurs, property owners and parents seek to exercise the rights we’ve helped them reestablish. Throughout their struggles, they are vulnerable to retribution, yet still they fight. Here are a few of their stories.

Joining IJ in the Fight

The Gambles bravely fight eminent domain abuse not only to try to save their home, but so others won't have to relive the nightmare they are going through.

Joining with IJ in national public interest litigation is not for the faint of heart. Imagine the trepidation of Scott and Lou Ann Mullen, a couple from very rural Texas, who traveled to Washington, D.C., to tell their story about wanting to adopt two of their foster children and how they were being denied because of race-matching by the State’s foster care system: the boys were black and the Mullens were not. Scott and Lou Ann emerged from a peaceful rural life to face not only the State's entire fostercare system, but also the fervent opposition of the National Association of Black Social Workers. Braving a bank of 13 television cameras, they told their story to the nation, and fought in court and the court of public opinion. Ever since their victory, the Mullens have provided Matthew and Joseph with the loving home every child deserves.

And, as Bert Gall highlighted on page two of this issue of Liberty & Law, senior citizens Joy and Carl Gamble from Norwood, Ohio, continue to demonstrate tremendous courage in standing up to a politically powerful developer with $500,000,000 in assets, and his organized efforts to turn the Gambles’ own neighbors against them. The Gambles are now fighting on, even after the developer has forced them from their home.
Taking it to the Streets

Taking it to the Streets

Ed Wheeler went up against the powerful Las Vegas limousine cartel and vindicated his right to earn an honest living.

Las Vegas limousine client Ed Wheeler faced off against a government-created limousine cartel that allowed existing operators to veto the entry of newcomers, like Ed. After our legal victory, Ed spent much of his savings applying for a permit with no guarantee of success—in fact, as the first new applicant after the court case to go up against the bureaucracy that once tried to shut him down, the odds were stacked against him. But Ed stood up to the machine and he won. And today, he operates Omni Limousine.

Each of these individuals is the kind of person who makes the world a better place—a freer place. So much of the Institute for Justice’s success begins with the courage of clients like these.

John E. Kramer is IJ’s vice present for communications.


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