Institute for Justice

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Founded in 1991 by Chip Mellor and Clint Bolick, the Institute for Justice is a US libertarian public interest law firm. John Blundell was also a founder director.[1]

"In pursuit of its goal of a radical laissez-faire capitalism, the Institute has initiated a number of lawsuits aimed at ending government regulation of business. While the lawsuits generally involve small businesses, often in communities of color, the goal is to set a legal precedent for the deregulation of big business in general. Utilizing both litigation and public advocacy, the Institute has also played a critical role in the groundbreaking school voucher programs in Milwaukee and Cleveland."[1]

The Institute offered two amicus briefs in the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case in favor of Citizens United.

However, aside from providing legal assistance to businesses, the Institute has occasionally given help to individuals against government oppression. One example was in the Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Raich, the Institute issued an amicus curiae brief on behalf of a medical marijuana patient.[2]

In a addition to litigation, "the Institute [takes its cases] to the court of public opinion with a blitz of editorials and op-eds in leading local and national newspapers."[3]

One of the target of the Institute is campaign finance reform. The Arizona chapter has filed a lawsuit challenging the "Clean Elections Act".

The Institute operates two additional projects: the Castle Coalition, described as a "nationwide grassroots property rights activism project" aimed at fighting eminent domain, and Congress Shall Make No Law, a "free speech blog."

Koch Wiki

The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

In 2011, Institute for Justice Executive Director Lee McGrath introduced the "Asset Forfeiture Process and Private Property Protection Act" model legislation to the Public Safety and Elections Task Force meeting at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in New Orleans.[2]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.


The initial funding for the Institute came from the Koch Family Foundations, which also fund the libertarian Cato Institute and Citizens for a Sound Economy. Charles and David Koch were named "Cornerstone Supporters" in 2001. [4]

Other notable funders include the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, which funds religious right groups and advocates school choice the conservative Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation, the school privatization-supporting Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, which also backs charter schools and vouchers. A complete list of funders can be found at the Media Matters Action Network Conservative Transparency website. [5]

Officers and Executives

Former staff


Contact details

Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road
Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Phone: 703.682.9320
Fax: 703.682.9321

Odd bedfellows

The Institute for Justice rubs shoulders with two intelligence firms: Blackwater offshoot Total Intelligence Solutions occupies the adjacent (or perhaps same) office, at Suite 901, and one floor below, in Suite 810, lies MZM (of Mitchell Wade and Duke Cunningham fame) offshoot Athena Innovative Solutions. Towers Watson has two floors of the building, and a sister building in the same complex houses the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

State chapters

398 S Mill Avenue Ste 301
Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (480) 557-8300
Fax: (480) 557-8305

527 Marquette Avenue Ste 1600
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 435-3451
Fax: (612) 435-5875

816 Congress Ave, Suite 960
Austin, TX 78701-2475
Phone: (512) 480-5936
Fax: (512) 480-5937

Washington (State):[6]
101 Yesler Way Ste 603
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 341-9300
Fax: (206) 341-9311

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. The LSE Hayek Society, "Capitalism", The LSE Hayek Society, archived from January 2003. (Scroll down to see the section on John Blundell).
  2. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Public Safety and Elections Task Force Meeting," agenda and meeting materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
  3. Arizona. Institute for Justice. Retrieved on 2010-05-04.
  4. Minnesota. Institute for Justice. Retrieved on 2010-05-04.
  5. Texas. Institute for Justice. Retrieved on 2010-05-04.
  6. Washington. Institute for Justice. Retrieved on 2010-05-04.

External resources

External articles

This is a list of groups or individuals associated in some capacity with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).