Texas State Chapter

Texas

“That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established…”
 
  —Preamble to the Texas Bill of Rights

 The Institute for Justice has been actively involved in litigating Texas cases since it was established. Headquartered in downtown Austin, IJ-Texas litigates statewide for economic liberty, private property rights, educational choice, freedom of speech and other vital liberties secured by the Texas Constitution.  As the Institute’s newest state chapter, IJ-Texas supports IJ’s national calling while advancing Texas’ historical ethos of liberty.  

 IJ-TX client April Gilliland
IJ-TX client Maria Robledo

 

IJ Texas' first case was an economic liberty challenge to a state law limiting computer repair to licensed private investigators:Texas Computer RepairRife v. Texas Private Security Board.  The law, which requires computer repair technicians to become licensed private investigators, passed in 2007 and has since evoked concern among skilled computer technicians across Texas.

IJ-Texas is also currently defending Carla Main, author of Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land, Encounter for Culture and Education, Inc. and Professor Richard Epstein to preserve their right to speak out against the abuse of eminent domain for private economic development. Bulldozed tells the story of a family-owned shrimp and marine supply business that is fighting to save its land from a planned private marina project in Freeport, Texas.  Main, Encounter and Professor Epstein have all been sued by the marina's developer for defamation.

In January 2009, IJ-Texas released a unique report on eminent domain abuse in Texas.  The report, “They Want to Erase Us Out ,” was authored by IJ-Texas Executive Director Matt Miller and chronicles the human impact of government’s abuse of eminent domain for private redevelopment projects in El Paso, San Antonio and Houston.

In November, 2009, IJ-Texas sued the city of Dallas over an ordinance that bans most commercial window signage.  The new law—which violates the First Amendment Rights of small business owners—prohibits signs in the upper two-thirds of any window and limits signs to no more than 15 percent of a window’s area.  People don’t notice tiny signs at their feet.  The ordinance has left targeted businesses struggling to get their message out to potential customers.  IJ-Texas is fighting in federal court for recognition that commercial speech deserves just as much protection under the First Amendment as any other kind of speech. 

On December 8, 2009, IJ-TX filed a constitutional challenge on behalf of eight eyebrow threaders against the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  Texas is demanding that eyebrow threaders—who use nothing but tightly wound cotton thread to remove unwanted facial hair—obtain an expensive and unnecessary license or be under threat of shutting down.  State enforcers are instructing successful threaders, some with more than 20 years of experience, to spend $20,000 and one year of their lives going to a school that doesn’t teach their trade.  Particularly in these troubled economic times, the last thing Texans need is for the government to stand in the way of people who are trying to earn an honest living.  IJ-TX is fighting to allow eyebrow threaders to continue practicing their trade free from unnecessary government regulation. 

In support of IJ’s national transportation work, IJ-TX is currently challenging a new law in Nashville, Tennessee that requires limousine and sedan operators to charge a minimum of $45 per trip. The law was passed at the request of the Tennessee Livery Association—a trade group dedicated to eliminating its affordable competition—and serves no health or safety purpose. This case seeks to expand on IJ’s landmark victory in Craigmiles v. Giles, a 2002 case that struck down Tennessee’s casket-retailer license because it served only the interests of the licensed funeral directors, not the public at large.

 

 

Directions to IJ's-Texas Chapter

The Institute for Justice Texas Chapter is located on the 9th Floor of the IBC Bank building at the corner of 9th Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. Please park in the IBC Bank parking garage (the entrance to the garage is on 9th street).

816 Congress Ave, Suite 960
Austin, TX 78701

To determine a door-to-door route to IJ-Texas, visit Google Maps and enter your starting address.

Phone: (512) 480-5936
Fax: (512) 480-5937

Law Student Clerkships:

To apply for semester clerkships in our Texas Chapter, please submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample via email to apanju@ij.org.  If you are interested in applying for a summer clerkship please visit www.ij.org/students.

 

Guest Speaker Information:

If you would like to invite an Institute for Justice attorney to a debate or to speak to your group, please email activism@ij.org. To see if there are any events currently scheduled near you, please go to our Speakers & Events page.

 

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