Center for Constitutional Rights

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that 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 U.S., CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

CCR uses litigation 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 movement for constitutional and human rights.

CCR accepts cases and projects based on principle and the value of the struggle itself, not by using a calculus of victory. CCR has worked on some cases for decades, standing by their causes and clients until success was achieved.

CCR works on a wide range of issues:

Illegal Detentions and Guantanamo Since 2001, the government has illegally detained thousands of people, the most recognized example being the men at Guantánamo. CCR has fought for the right to due process, filing countless cases on behalf of detainees and others swept up in the so-called War on Terror.

Surveillance and Attacks on Dissent CCR represents demonstrators who have been wrongfully arrested and movements that have been infiltrated and spied on. For decades, the U.S. government has engaged in unlawful surveillance and attempted to expand Executive powers to monitor and intimidate activists, from the Black Panthers in the 1960’s and 70’s to the Central America Solidarity Movement in the 80’s to administration critics today.

Criminal Justice and Mass Incarceration Since its inception in the 1960’s, when CCR attorneys defended protestors at the Chicago Democratic National Convention, CCR has been at the forefront of criminal justice issues such as mass incarceration, jail expansion, and challenging unjust detentions. In a country that puts more people in jail than any other country in the world, CCR promises to continue to fight the mass incarceration of millions in our nation’s prison system, as well as challenge practices such as racial profiling, immigrant detention, and discriminatory laws that lead to a disproportionate number of people of color behind bars.

Corporate Human Rights Abuse CCR pioneered the prosecution in U.S. courts of human rights abuses committed abroad—and some of the worst perpetrators have been corporations. From the murder of activists, to the degradation of the environment in countries ranging from Nigeria and Vietnam to the Occupied Territories in Palestine and South Africa, CCR works to hold corporations accountable when torture and killings are committed to further profits.

Government Abuse of Power CCR was the first organization to challenge the Bush administration’s policy of “extraordinary rendition,” where suspects are secretly transferred from U.S. custody to foreign governments that are notorious for poor human rights records. Since its founding, CCR has fought against similar government abuses of power – restrictions on travel to Cuba, illegal surveillance and wiretapping, and U.S. military aggression in Central America and Iraq.

Racial, Gender and Economic Justice CCR was born out of the Civil Rights movement, and racial, gender and economic justice have always been cornerstones of its docket. From pioneering pro-choice and anti-domestic violence cases, to fighting employment discrimination and racial profiling, CCR has found innovative ways to challenge the status quo and support activists and movements engaged around these central questions of injustice.

International Law and Accountability As citizens of an increasingly interconnected world, it is critical that all nations, the United States especially, recognize and incorporate the norms of international law into their systems of justice. CCR pioneered the use of the Alien Tort Statute to prosecute human rights abuses committed abroad in U.S. courts and has created a body of law that helps to hold foreign officials and corporations accountable to the public.



Board of Directors


Contact Information

Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Telephone 212-614-6464
Fax 212-614-6499


Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative News Briefing (monthly)

The Qana Massacre (2 pages, December 2007)

Al Odah/Boumediene Legal Argument and Implications (2 pages, December 2007)

Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (1 page, November 2007)

The Torture of Mohammed Al Qahtani (10 pages, October 2007)

Does the U.S. Torture People? (2 pages, October 2007)

Guantánamo’s Refugees: Trapped by Inaction - The Need for Third-Country Resettlement for Guantánamo’s Refugees (17 pages, August 2007)

Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the “War on Terror” (24 pages, June 2007)

Impacts of Jail Expansion in New York State: A Hidden Burden (24 pages, May 2007)

Faces of Guantánamo: Guantánamo’s Many Wrongly Imprisoned (10 pages, April 2007)

The Military Commissions Act of 2006: A Summary of the Law (11 pages, 2006)

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) (1 page, November 2006)

Report on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (55 pages, July 2006)

Know Before You Go: Restrictions on Travel to Cuba (14 pages, February 2006)

Articles of Impeachment Against George W.Bush (144 pages, Melville House Publishing, 2006)

Against War with Iraq: An Anti-War Primer (80 pages, March 2003)

The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook: How to Bring a Federal Lawsuit to Challenge Violations of Your Rights in Prison (113 pages, 2003)

Plain Responses to Attacks on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) (17 pages, 2003)

Links to more than one hundred CCR current and archival press releases

External links

The Fear of Torture, (London) Guardian, December 14, 2007

Evidence to Be Preserved in Guantanamo Torture Case: Court, Agence France Presse, December 11, 2007

Human Rights Crusader Michael Ratner: We'll Keep Going After Bush and Cheney When They Leave Office, AlterNet, December 3, 2007

Civil Libertarians Warn of "Patriot Act Lite", Inter Press Service News Agency, November 29, 2007

Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act Raises Fears of New Government Crackdown on Dissent, Democracy Now, November 20, 2007

Center for Constitutional Rights and Corrie Family Respond to Decision by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Stop Caterpiller, September 17, 2007

Articles of Impeachment Against President George W. Bush, Huffington Post, June 28, 2007

Guantánamo Bay: 'No End In Sight' A Young Activist Talks about Her Experience Visiting the Detention Center, Where 380 Men Who Have Not Stood Trial Are Being Held (Video - 6 mins.), MTV, May 15, 2007

Young Activist Fights For Detainee Rights At Guantanamo, MTV, May 15, 2007

The Advocates; Scrappy Group of Lawyers Shows Way for Big Firms, New York Times, June 30, 2004