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Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 12, 2011

South Carolina passed an extreme anti-immigrant law in 2011. The law required police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an undocumented immigrant. It also criminalized everyday interactions with undocumented immigrants. The SPLC joined a coalition of civil rights groups in filing a federal class action lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional. A settlement reached in 2014 blocked major provisions of the law.

Date Filed

February 10, 2010

Bernard Monroe Sr., an elderly black man, was shot to death on his front porch by a white police officer who had entered his house in Homer, La., without apparent justification or a warrant. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged two white officers created a volatile situation when they entered Monroe’s property during a gathering of his family and friends on Feb. 20, 2009. A settlement agreement was reached with the town in August 2010.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2011

Linda Smith, a U.S. citizen, and “John Doe,” an undocumented immigrant, had been a couple for more than nine years. When they decided to marry, they could not obtain a marriage license from the Montgomery County Probate Office in Alabama because the office denied licenses to couples unable to prove both partners have legal immigration status. The policy was not required by any federal or state law. The SPLC filed a lawsuit challenging the policy.

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

June 26, 2003

After a Texas rancher invited the vigilante border patrol group Ranch Rescue to guard his property in 2003, two Salvadorans crossing the U.S. border were terrorized and assaulted by members of the group. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Salvadorans, obtaining more than $1 million in a settlement and judgments, including the title to Ranch Rescue’s Arizona headquarters.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

July 12, 2018

Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, an entity created every 20 years to revise the state’s laws, attempted to place a constitutional amendment on the state’s 2018 ballot that would have eliminated the duties of school boards to regulate public schools in their districts, including...

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

September 26, 2012

Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere were shocked to discover that an anti-gay hate group took their engagement photo and used it in political mailers to attack a Colorado lawmaker in 2012 for supporting same-sex civil unions. The SPLC and its allies filed a federal lawsuit against the group, Public Advocate of the United States, for misappropriating the likeness and personalities of the couple. It also charged that the group infringed on the photographer’s exclusive right to the photo.

Hate & Extremism
Landmark Case

Date Filed

January 25, 1999

Victoria and Jason Keenan were chased and shot at by members of the Aryan Nations in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Held at gunpoint, the mother and son feared for their lives. The Center sued and obtained a $6.3 million jury verdict; Aryan Nations was forced to turn its compound over to the victims it had terrorized.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

April 13, 2004

At Columbia Training School, one of Mississippi's abusive juvenile prisons, a policy made it nearly impossible for injured children to speak with attorneys who are willing to help.

Economic Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2015

The SPLC filed a judicial ethics complaint against Perry County (Alabama) Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins after he required people unable to pay court fines to either donate blood or go to jail.

The complaint described how Wiggins threatened defendants in his court with jail on Sept. 17,...

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

January 28, 2015

After Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore urged the state’s governor and judges to defy federal law and enforce Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a series of judicial ethics complaint against Moore that could result in the chief justice being removed...

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