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Institute for Justice President to Speak on "Urban Poverty: Fighting an Old Problem with New Ideas"


William H. Mellor, president, general counsel, and co-founder of the Institute for Justice, will address the Yale Law and Enterprise Forum on the topic of "Urban Poverty: Fighting an Old Problem with New Ideas," on Wednesday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 121. The talk is free and open to the public.

Mellor co-founded the Institute for Justice with Clint Bolick in 1991 based on "a vision of public interest advocacy devoted to individual rights and economic liberty," as he explained in his inaugural speech. "We believed this new approach was essential if the courts were to play their designated role as guarantors of liberty."

Mellor added: "Our litigation agenda can be characterized as broadly seeking to enable individuals to take control of their own destinies as free and responsible members of society, and to form voluntary communities based on common interests and aspirations."

Since its founding, the Institute for Justice has provided legal assistance to people trying to open up the taxi market in Denver and to reduce the regulatory impediments to opening a hair-braiding business in California. They have also worked to strengthen property rights against inappropriate government use of eminent domain and to introduce market principles to education by supporting school choice. In fact, one case on the constitutionality of a Cleveland, Ohio, school choice program that the Institute for Justice has worked on was argued in front of the Supreme Court earlier this year.

In his talk at YLS, Mellor will discuss new ideas for combating urban poverty. Three specific areas he will discuss are how to stimulate entrepreneurship in urban communities, the importance of protecting private property rights from abuses of eminent domain, and the centrality of school choice to urban education reform.