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SUPREME COURT
ASSISTANCE PROJECT

Read about our work helping lawyers
with cases in the Supreme Court.

 

Access to Courts & Court Remedies

Primarily through our appellate litigation, Public Citizen works to preserve individuals’ access to the courts and to court remedies. Our work in this area ranges from appellate and Supreme Court cases addressing the right to court-awarded attorney fees, to cases addressing the right to be in state or in federal court, to cases addressing whether consumers have a right to be in court at all.

Particularly noteworthy is our work to defeat corporate "preemption" arguments. Public Citizen believes that tort law is rightly a matter of state, not federal, concern and that, absent an express congressional determination to the contrary, states should remain free to compensate tort plaintiffs as they deem appropriate. With this principle in mind, our Litigation Group, since the early 1990s, has been a leader in fighting against the argument that federal regulation bars, or "preempts," state-law claims seeking damages for injuries caused by consumer products. Although defendants most frequently assert the preemption defense in product liability and deceptive marketing practices cases, it is also raised in other areas, such as employment cases.

Read about the broad scope of our efforts to preserve access to courts and court remedies, categorized in six topics:

  • Attorney fees
  • Choice of forum
  • Federal Jurisdiction and Appellate Jurisdiction
  • Qualified Immunity and Sovereign Immunity
  • Scope of Statutory Rights and Remedies

To read about our cases in this area, click here.

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Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

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