Center for Constitutional Rights stands with social justice movements and communities under threat—fusing litigation, advocacy, and narrative shifting to dismantle systems of oppression regardless of the risk.
Center for Constitutional Rights fights for a world without oppression—where people use their power to achieve justice and guarantee the rights of all.
What we are up against
Too often, the law supports systems of power that violate our most fundamental rights and prevent people from living with dignity.
- We live in a world that legitimizes the systemic oppression of poor people, people of color, and other vulnerable communities through the law.
- Political, economic, and legal systems can restrict civil and human rights to maintain social control in the interest of the powerful.
- When communities under threat demand their rights, they are challenged by overwhelming state, corporate, and other powerful interests that assert control through criminalization, surveillance, collective punishment, violence, intimidation, and other means.
- Targeted communities often have the fewest protections under the law and the least access to legal resources. This imbalance of power leaves people vulnerable to systematic racial and religious profiling, abusive immigration practices, LGBTQ persecution, mass incarceration, corporate exploitation, torture, and more.
What we do
The Center for Constitutional Rights works creatively to advance and defend the constitutional and human rights of social justice movements and communities under threat and helps them build power. We are committed to dismantling systems of oppression and fighting for justice through litigation, advocacy, and narrative shifting.
- Litigation: What is legal is not always just. We use creative and aggressive legal strategies to fight the most virulent forms of oppression and push the law to meet the demands of justice. We are lawyers who center our legal strategies around the aspirations of progressive social movements and those with the least access to justice.
- Advocacy: We prioritize forms of advocacy that complement our legal strategies with short- and long-term campaigns, policy work, trainings, public education, and thought leadership. Alliances with communities, organizations, activists, and storytellers help build power where it’s most needed, among communities who have been pushed to the margins.
- Narrative shifting: We use media and thought leadership to challenge dominant narratives and make space for the voices and experiences of those who have been pushed to the margins. These tactics allow us to shape public opinion about the issues we fight, which can initially be seen as controversial, and create opportunities to dismantle institutionalized power while building the power of social movements.
Why we win
Our approach is holistic, fearless, and relentless. By partnering with communities under threat and centering their struggles for liberation, we are able to transform systems, policies, and public narratives.
- Our litigation and advocacy makes space for our powerful social movement partners and centers the voices of those who have been silenced—because for justice to prevail, the communities who are most affected by oppression must lead the change.
- Our work began on behalf of Civil Rights Movement activists in the 1960s. We come from a long tradition of visionary, radical lawyering, committed to building power inside and outside of the courtroom for the people on the front lines. Today, we continue standing with communities under threat, because together, we put forth movement-led solutions that enable justice.
- Movement lawyering is bigger than winning in the courtroom. We take on cases that shape political discourse and public opinion and serve as a positive example of what legal advocacy can achieve. We often take on legal challenges before other institutions are ready to consider such challenges.
- We recognize the ways the law is used to reinforce pre-existing power structures. For this reason, we apply the law creatively to deploy and build power outside the courtroom.
- We partner with social movements because true social change does not come out of a courtroom, although legal and advocacy work can be a powerful tool to demand accountability that can lead to social change. We win because our ‘client’ is ultimately social change, not the law itself.