Legal Department Introduction
The Legal Department promotes the mission of the Center for Inquiry and its affiliates by filing amicus briefs in cases involving First Amendment rights, reproductive freedom, assistance in dying, and other issues of importance to the Center and its supporters. Where appropriate, the Center or its affiliates will file their own lawsuit. For example, Council for Secular Humanism v. McNeil in which the Council alleges that the State of Florida’s payments to faith-based half-way houses are unconstitutional.
The Center joined a brief in the Supreme Court arguing that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to teachers who work for church-run schools. It is also fighting for the right of couples to be married by secular celebrants.
In addition, the Legal Department of the Center for Inquiry occasionally provides free legal assistance. If you have experienced discrimination because you are nonreligious or you believe that your constitutional rights are in jeopardy, please e-mail us and include “Refer a Case” as your subject heading as long as it is not a criminal proceeding. Be aware that submission of this information to the Legal Department does not guarantee that we can assist you. Although we carefully consider all requests, our resources are limited. Therefore, it is not an opinion on the merits of your claim if we are unable to represent you. Each type of case has its own filing deadlines, so do not wait for our answer. Contact a private attorney promptly as well as asking us. If we accept your case, we will take over from, or work with, a private attorney.
As indicated, the Legal Department of the Center for Inquiry is leanly staffed, and we cannot by ourselves become involved in all the litigation matters that deserve our attention. Especially on issues relating to church-state separation, we rely significantly on the First Amendment Task Force (FATF), a group of volunteer lawyers and others with legal experience, which is chaired by Edward Tabash, Esq., a prominent civil rights attorney. If you would like to join the FATF, please e-mail us with “Sign Up for the First Amendment Task Force” as your subject heading. Please provide your contact information and any other relevant information in the body of the message. We are especially interested in having attorneys throughout the United States who would be able to assist us by acting as local counsel, whether or not they want to become substantively involved in the litigation.
To illustrate the type of work in which we engage, and to provide you with information about important legal cases, we will post on this site briefs that we have submitted as well as notices about the litigation in which we are involved. Please visit our site periodically to review new postings.
Steven S. Fox, Esq., is the Center’s legal director. Fox holds a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.S. in consumer economics from Cornell University. In addition to overseeing the Center’s litigation, he provides general business advice and manages the Center’s intellectual property assets. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.