The Board met during September 2010 to discuss grant applications. As a result of that discussion, the Board made the following grants to seven worthy organizations.
Click on each Grantee’s name below to read more about their organization and the case for which they received funding.
The ACLU is a non-profit, multi-issue public interest organization devoted to protecting the basic civil liberties of all people in the United States. The public interest law firm component of the ACLU works in courts, legislatures, and communities around the country to defend the freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and civil rights laws.
Since 1972, the National Prison Project (NPP) of the ACLU Foundation has helped improve the living conditions of persons in United States prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, and immigration detention centers. It is the only organization in the country litigating prison conditions on a national basis. It seeks to reduce prison overcrowding, reduce reliance on incarceration as a criminal justice sanction, create constitutional and human prison conditions, and strengthen prisoner rights through litigation, public education and advocacy.
A grant was made related to Rutherford v. Baca, a case challenging severe overcrowding and other unconstitutional conditions at the Los Angeles County jail. One of the main issues in the case is the treatment of prisoners with mental illness. The case has strong potential to act as a catalyst for major policy changes in Los Angeles County and, ultimately, the nation.
Contact: David C. Fathi, Director, National Prison Project, American Civil Liberties Union, 915 15th Street, N.W., 7th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University of Law is a public policy and law institute that focuses on voting rights, campaign reform, and public education on constitutional law issues. The Center was founded in 1995 by the law clerks and family of the late Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan.
A grant was made for legal work related to Farrakhan v. Gregoire, a challenge on the basis of racial discrimination to the state law in Washington that disenfranchises people with felony convictions. The case was brought in conjunction with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In Washington, African Americans make up only 3 percent of the state’s population but nearly 25 percent of all black men in the state are denied the right to vote because of their criminal convictions.
Contact: Michael Waldman, Executive Director, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, 161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor, New York, New York 10013.
DV LEAP is dedicated to providing appellate legal representation to domestic violence victims. DV LEAP has found that appeals from adverse trial court decisions in domestic violence cases are rare and that an organization was needed to prosecute these appeals. DV LEAP, founded in 2003, also files “Friend of the Court” briefs in appellate cases involving domestic violence.
A grant was made for legal work related to E.J. v. D.J., a case in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals involving a challenge to the pseudo-scientific concept of “Alienation,” which is widely used to refute abuse claims.
Contact: Joan S. Meier, Esq., Professor of Clinical Law and Director, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment And Appeals Project, George Washington University Law School, 2000 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20052.
The Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice through advocacy for systemic change. The center opened in 2003 and has offices in Jackson and Biloxi, Miss. The Center engages the services of pro bono attorneys from across the United States. The Center has been at the forefront of federal and state policy battles to restore safe and affordable housing to survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
A grant was made relating to Lowe v. South Regional Housing Authority, a case brought by the Mississippi Center for Justice to prevent implementation of dramatic rent increases for 250 families living in public housing in disregard of state law that defines the amount of rent a public housing authority can assess. Since the rent increases became effective, more than 60 plaintiffs have had to move because they could not afford their monthly rents.
Contact: Martha Bergmark, President, Mississippi Center for Justice, 5 Old River Place, Suite 203, Jackson, MS 39215.
The NCLEJ, founded in 1965, works to secure fairness in the delivery of income support and related human services particularly in access to public benefits (food stamps), health care, and childcare.
A grant was made for legal work in connection with Davis v. Henneberry, a case in Colorado brought to enforce federal and state mandates to process applications and redeterminations for Medicaid and food stamps in a timely manner.
Contact: Henry A. Freedman, Executive Director, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, 275 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1506, New York, New York 10001.
The National Immigrant Justice Center for Human Needs and Human Rights asserts and attempts to protect the legal rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers by bringing impact litigation to protect due process and fundamental fairness for immigrants. NIJC has filed briefs in numerous circuit courts and in the Supreme Court related to judicial review, procedural fairness, overbroad interpretation of deportable offenses, and impartiality.
A grant was made for legal work related to the case brought by Carlyle Dale, who spent more than five years in unlawful civil detention. NIJC filed a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act to hold the government accountable for the damages suffered by Mr. Dale for a series of chronic illnesses. Mr. Dale had successfully challenged his deportation in a case brought in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Contact: Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center, 208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1818, Chicago, IL 60604.
The Tahirih Justice Center, founded in 1997, seeks to enable women and girls fleeing gender-based violence to access justice through legal services, social service case management, and education. Tahirih has helped over 11,000 women and girls who have been victims of violence since 1997.
Tahirih provides legal representation to women and girls seeking protection under immigration law from gender-based violence -- such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, torture, rape, trafficking, and domestic violence. Tahirih was involved in over 900 separate legal matters in 2009.
A grant award was made to Tahirih for the Matter of MA, a case aimed at establishing domestic violence against women in a woman’s home country as a basis for obtaining asylum under United States immigration law. The individual involved in this case was brutalized in her home country and fled after the local courts there refused to intercede. The individual fled to the United States and her request for asylum was denied. Her case is now pending in the Bureau of Immigration Appeals.
Contact: Layli Miller-Muro, Executive Director, Tahirih Justice Center, 6402 Arlington Blvd., Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22042.