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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.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

August 05, 2010

The SPLC filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of more than 350 Filipino teachers who were lured to Louisiana to teach in public schools under the federal H-1B guest worker program. The teachers were cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars and forced into exploitive contracts. A jury in 2012 ordered a labor recruiting firm and its owner to pay $4.5 million in damages to the teachers.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

November 01, 2006

Federal immigration agents conducted illegal searches and relied on racial and ethnic profiling while carrying out a massive series of raids, according to this federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

April 14, 1980

In 1977, Marie Von Hoffburg, a female service member of the United States Army, was discharged due to her alleged sexual orientation. The Southern Poverty Law Center appealed the decision on her behalf alongside the American Civil Liberties Union.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

December 15, 2003

Originally filed in 1975, this class action lawsuit is aimed at improving the education provided to thousands of Mississippi schoolchildren with educational disabilities.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

August 13, 2002

The ventilation system on Alabama's death row was broken, resulting in stifling, stagnant, medically dangerous heat in the prisoners' 55-square foot cells. The Center sued to allow inmates to purchase fans at their own expense. An anonymous donor provided free fans to all death row inmates.

Date Filed

May 14, 2013

M.C. was born with an intersex condition – a difference in reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. When M.C. was just 16 months old and in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors and department officials decided the child should undergo sex assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl. There was no medical reason to perform this surgery, which robbed M.C. of the opportunity to decide what should happen to his body. The SPLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of M.C.’s adoptive parents.

Economic Justice

Date Filed

July 23, 2014

The SPLC filed a federal class action lawsuit against Tennessee for Medicaid practices that deprived thousands of people of health care coverage despite eligibility. These policies resulted in some residents – including those with serious medical conditions – going needlessly without health care.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

November 27, 2012

Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) fraudulently claimed to provide services that “convert” people from gay to straight. These services, known as conversion therapy, have been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations. The SPLC filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against JONAH for fraudulent business practices. A jury found that JONAH violated the state’s consumer fraud law by offering services that purport to turn gay people straight. 

Children's Rights

Date Filed

February 04, 1975

Although this constitutional challenge to horrific conditions at a juvenile center was filed by other lawyers in 1975, the Center and the Mississippi Center for Justice took over in 2003 to enforce a judgment that had been ignored for more than 25 years.

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