Mission and History

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

CCR uses litigation proactively to advance the law in a positive direction, to empower poor communities and communities of color, to guarantee the rights of those with the fewest protections and least access to legal resources, to train the next generation of constitutional and human rights attorneys, and to strengthen the broader movement for constitutional and human rights. Our work began on behalf of civil rights activists, and over the last four decades CCR has lent its expertise and support to virtually every popular movement for social justice.

Since our founding, CCR has provided legal skills in a unique and effective manner and always with a progressive perspective. We use daring and innovative legal strategies which have produced many important precedents. CCR is often “ahead of the curve” in both identifying a problem and in suggesting novel or radical legal responses which, over time, become accepted and respected precedents and theories.

Attica March CCR accepts cases and projects based on principle and the value of the struggle itself, not solely by using a calculus of victory. There are cases which CCR has worked on tenaciously for decades before success was achieved, yet we stood by the cause and the client. We will continue to take these types of cases because justice demands it.

As we look to the future, CCR will continue to be at the forefront of legal thinking, using the law creatively in the service of justice.

Through our human rights work, we will strengthen the international rule of law to promote justice and oppose armed and other forms of aggression.

Through our racial justice work, we will strive to complete the unfinished civil rights movement, targeting racial profiling and other modern-day manifestations of racial repression.

TJC march We are dedicated to restoring the fundamental right to habeas corpus and will continue to combat the illegal expansion of executive power and the American torture programs that have undermined fundamental rights in the name of the so-called “war on terror.”

History has repeatedly taught us that the hard-won victories of yesterday can never be taken for granted. As society changes, new threats to our rights arise, even as old ones are defeated. CCR will continue defending progressive movements for social change and devising new strategies to ensure that fundamental rights are the rights of the many and not just the few.