Skip to main content Accessibility

SPLC History: 2000s

2000 – The SPLC wins a $6.3 million verdict against the Aryan Nations and its leader, Richard Butler. Butler must give up the 20-acre compound that is home to the nation’s most violent white supremacists. The SPLC filed suit after Aryan Nations members terrorized a mother and son.

2000 – Alabama prisoners are allowed to receive gift subscriptions to publications following the SPLC lawsuit, Prison Legal News, et al. v. Haley. Before the lawsuit, prisoners could not accept gift subscriptions and were forced to buy subscriptions from their prison trust accounts. The lawsuit also resulted in publishers receiving notification when their publications are rejected by the Alabama Department of Corrections.

2002 – Teaching Tolerance launches the first Mix It Up at Lunch Day. The program encourages students to break out of their lunchtime cliques and meet other students.

2002 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules Alabama prisons cannot handcuff prisoners to metal posts known as hitching posts. The ruling in Hope v. Pelzer came after the SPLC served as co-counsel for a prisoner handcuffed to a hitching post outdoors for seven hours.

2003 – Winning a lawsuit against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to enforce the constitutional separation of church and state, the SPLC forces the removal of a three-ton Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building.

2004 – The SPLC creates the Immigrant Justice Project (IJP) to address the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers. It files a number of lawsuits on behalf of immigrant workers, recovering nearly $2 million in wages within its first five years. It also brings reforms to the forestry industry, a major employer of immigrant labor.

2004 – A settlement in the SPLC suit Baker v. Campbell means that chronically sick state inmates, who had been routinely denied medical care, will get the care they need.

2005 – The SPLC wins an almost $1.5 million verdict in the Ranch Rescue case. A 70-acre paramilitary compound is awarded to immigrants who were detained and assaulted by a vigilante “border patrol.”

2005 – Two SPLC documentaries about the Civil Rights Movement are honored. Mighty Times: The Children’s March, wins an Academy Award for best short documentary. Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks, wins a daytime Emmy Award.

2005 – The Mississippi Youth Justice Project (MYJP) is launched to reform the state’s juvenile justice system. Mississippi ultimately passes legislation developed with the SPLC that radically overhauls the state’s juvenile justice system.

2006 – The SPLC exposes growing evidence that large numbers of potentially dangerous racial extremists are infiltrating the armed forces and urges the Pentagon to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for extremism. Forty members of Congress join the SPLC’s call for action.

2007 – The SPLC publishes Close to Slavery, a groundbreaking report detailing the systematic exploitation of guestworkers by U.S. businesses and labor contractors.

2007 – A Texas jury awards $9 million to Billy Ray Johnson, a mentally disabled black man who was left with brain damage after he was knocked unconscious and dumped along a road by four white men in 2003. The SPLC filed the suit after the men received jail sentences of 30 to 60 days.

2007 – The SPLC assists the U.S. Justice Department in reopening civil rights era cold cases by providing the FBI with information about the deaths of dozens of people who may have been victims of racially motivated killings during the 1950s and 1960s.

2007 – The SPLC launches the School-to-Prison Reform Project. Based in New Orleans, the project seeks reforms to ensure students get educational services in school that are needed to prevent them from being pushed out of the classroom and into the juvenile justice system. Lawsuits filed by the project have spurred several school districts in Louisiana to implement new programs to help children with disabilities.

2008 – The state of Mississippi closes the notorious Columbia Training School, a prison for girls, seven months after the SPLC sues the state to stop the physical and sexual abuse of teenage girls confined there. The suit exposes brutal conditions, including the shackling of girls for weeks at a time. The state vows to decrease the incarceration of juveniles and provide quality services for at-risk youth.

2008 – The SPLC wins a $2.5 million verdict against the Imperial Klans of America for its role in the brutal beating of a teenager at a county fair in rural Kentucky. The verdict is expected to cripple the IKA, once one of the nation’s largest Klan groups.

2009 – A plea agreement is reached with five of the black youths known as the “Jena Six.” The young men, initially charged with attempted murder for a high school fight involving a white student in Jena, La., avoid jail time after pleading no contest to misdemeanor simple battery charges. The SPLC represented one of the youths and helped coordinate the overall defense strategy.

2009 – The Palm Beach County, Fla., school system settles an SPLC complaint on behalf of students with disabilities who were not provided the counseling, social work and psychological services required by federal law. The agreement to protect these students is one of the largest settlements involving federal education law for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

2009 – The SPLC brings national attention to the plight of immigrants with Under Siege, a report detailing widespread discrimination against low-income Latinos in the South. 

2009 – The SPLC reaches a settlement recovering $175,000 on behalf of 39 migrant workers who worked for months without pay as they repaired apartments in post-Katrina New Orleans.

2009 – The SPLC releases The Second Wave: Return of the Militias, a report documenting the powerful resurgence of antigovernment militias a decade after they virtually disappeared from view.

2009 – The SPLC reaches a settlement to correct unconstitutional conditions at the Harrison County (Miss.) Juvenile Detention Center, where children were brutalized by staffers, held in filthy cells for 23 hours a day and provided no recreational or educational services.

2009 – The SPLC report Climate of Fear documents the fierce anti-immigrant climate in Suffolk County, N.Y., where Latinos were routinely the target of violent attacks, harassment and abuse driven by an anti-immigrant atmosphere fostered by community leaders and law enforcement practices. The U.S. Department of Justice announces an investigation of “discriminatory policing” in Suffolk County.

2009 – An agreement is reached in Hinds County, Miss., where children at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Detention Center suffered abuse and neglect. Children are no longer locked down for 23 hours a day or banned from having books in their cells.

2009 – The Pentagon tightens its policy banning extremist activity in the military following a series of investigative reports by the SPLC since 2006 that uncovered extremist activity among active-duty personnel.