What We Do

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. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. We do that by combining cutting-edge litigation, advocacy and strategic communications in work on a broad range of civil and human rights issues, listed below. 

"Power concedes nothing without a demand."

- Frederick Douglass

Issues We Fight

The U.S. government has a long history of violating the civil and human rights of immigrants, who often lack political power and access to justice. From our early support of the Sanctuary Movement and our representation of HIV-positive Haitians held in Guantánamo to our legal challenges to...

Since our founding in 1966, the Center has pioneered legal strategies to ensure that courtroom doors remain open to those with the least access to justice. In few instances is this more difficult than when our clients are seeking justice for human rights violations committed or facilitated by a...

CCR was born out of dissent. Growing directly out of Civil Rights struggles in the South, we have consistently worked to protect the right to dissent, not simply as an individual liberty but as the starting point for social change. Historically, CCR established the right to challenge the...

CCR has tenaciously challenged discriminatory policing for decades, recognizing that discrimination and police violence do not arise as isolated incidents but are deeply embedded within our criminal justice system. We have challenged both local law enforcement (most notably the NYPD) and federal...

Since 2002, the United States has operated a secretive killing program using armed drones and other weapons in multiple countries, far removed from any legitimate battlefields. These so-called targeted killings have left thousands of people dead and injured, including hundreds of children. Three...

From the stunning revelations of the FBI's COINTELPRO program just a few years after CCR was founded to the broad-ranging surveillance of the post-9/11 era, CCR has consistently sought to expose and oppose government surveillance. We have worked to protect individuals and communities from...

Since the prison opened in 2002, CCR has been at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantánamo, representing many current and former detainees. We sent one of the first civilian lawyers to the base; organized a network of hundreds of lawyers (the “GITMO...

CCR has long had a deep commitment to protecting members of LGBTQI communities from discrimination, censorship, violence, and persecution. Throughout the 1990s, the Center fought for the rights of gays and lesbians to serve in the Peace Corps, march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, receive...

CCR works hard to empower those who have been imprisoned, supporting movements begun by prisoners and foregrounding their stories and voices in our work. With the National Lawyers Guild, we provide our Jailhouse Lawyers...

CCR fights tirelessly to obtain justice for those who have fallen victim to domestic government abuses perpetuated in the name of the so-called “war on terror.” Our challenges to discriminatory profiling, torture, and illegal detentions of Muslims in the U.S. began in the days immediately after...

CCR has long challenged impunity for the Israeli government’s violations of international law related to its illegal occupation of Palestine, U.S. support that enables Israel’s violations, and efforts to punish activists for speaking out in solidarity with Palestine. We have sought transparency...

CCR has been fighting for racial justice since our first day. We organized legal support for and defended marchers who were arrested on the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965; litigated scores of Voting Rights Act cases; led challenges to de facto segregation that held states responsible...

Since the 1970s, combating sexual and gender-based violence has been an integral part of CCR’s mission. We fought for recognition of the right to self-defense for victims of domestic violence, winning the first ever appeal of a murder conviction on these grounds, and helped to strike down New...

CCR has been relentless in its efforts on behalf of victims of torture and war crimes. The Center pioneered the use of the Alien Tort Statute to allow foreign victims of international human rights violations to sue the perpetrators in U.S. courts. From taking Bosnian-Serb...

Active Cases

Our current cases reflects our unwavering commitment to progressive principles, people’s movements and human rights as well as our creative use of the law as a positive force for social change. Our active cases >>

Historic Cases

Many of the Center’s historic victories have established major legal precedents. Our historic cases >>

Last modified 

February 29, 2016