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LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

December 16, 2013

After an Alabama man discovered that state laws refusing to recognize his lawful same-sex marriage from another state would prevent him from collecting the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of his deceased husband, the SPLC filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the laws. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, a federal judge ruled that he could collect the proceeds as the surviving spouse.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

October 13, 1998

An African-American teenager was denied school enrollment simply because she was homeless. The Center immediately sued, and "Penny Doe" was soon enrolled in school. The case was settled with officials adopting policies to ensure compliance with federal law.

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

June 05, 1984

In the mid-1980s, a North Carolina Klan group was one of the most militant and violent, engaging in paramilitary-style training, using U.S. military personnel to prepare recruits for combat. After a series of terrorizing incidents, the Center sued the Klan and won court orders shutting down their illegal training camps.

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

December 03, 2018

Peter Sean Brown was illegally detained in Florida’s Monroe County jail for deportation despite his repeated pleas to authorities that he was a U.S. citizen and the county’s own jail file showing that he was born in Philadelphia. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Brown, whose Fourth...

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

May 13, 1999

The Alabama DOC prohibited its prisoners from receiving gift subscriptions for publications. Inmates were forced to buy subscriptions from their prison trust accounts.

Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

February 26, 1974

Conditions in Alabama's prisons were an inhumane nightmare - violent, overcrowded and unsanitary. In a 1976 landmark ruling, a federal judge declared the prisons "wholly unfit for human habitation" and ordered detailed reforms.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

January 11, 2012

African-American students in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public Schools were disproportionately arrested for minor rule violations across the school district. These students often experienced physical abuse while being detained, including one student whose arm was broken as sheriff’s officers detained him. They were also subjected to racially offensive language and other inappropriate comments while being detained. The U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint describing these conditions.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

November 15, 1988

Concerned about inappropriate services and mental health treatment provided to children placed in Alabama foster care, the Center joined with mental health lawyers and sued in 1988, forcing drastic changes in the ways these cases are handled.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

January 17, 2016

A minor at the Sumter Correctional Institution in Florida was brutally beaten and raped as part of a prison initiation ritual that was ignored by a guard. The SPLC and its co-counsel filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the youth to end the culture of brutality at the prison, which houses...

Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

September 19, 2019

Children tried and convicted as adults for sex offenses in Alabama are subject to the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act, which imposes a lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender. The SPLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs who as children were tried...

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