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About Us

Civil Liberties for All

NCLA views the Administrative State as an especially serious threat to constitutional freedoms.

Our Mission

NCLA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group founded by prominent legal scholar Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State. NCLA’s public-interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy strive to tame the unlawful power of state and federal agencies and to foster a new civil liberties movement that will help restore Americans’ fundamental rights.

What is the Administrative State?

Most Americans do not realize that Congress today enacts fewer than one hundred statutes per year, handling over the task of legislating to federal administrative agencies. This Administrative State now creates, enforces and adjudicates hundreds of thousands of regulations governing daily activities in our lives.

How does NCLA choose its cases or take legal action?

NCLA is unique in that we only focus on cases where the Administrative State violates the civil liberties of Americans. The vast majority of our cases fall into the following categories: Judicial Deference Doctrines (Auer, Chevron and others); Administrative Restrictions of SpeechAgency Guidance AbuseStructure of Government; and Unconstitutional Conditions on Spending.

Where can I contact NCLA for a media interview?

To arrange interviews with our attorneys and subject matter experts, please visit our Media Inquiries page.

Does NCLA offer internships?

NCLA offers internships during the summer and school semesters. Our interns gain real world experience through our program. Our clerkships offer the law student or rising attorney the opportunity to learn about the perils of the Administrative State while supporting our litigators with research, drafting legal documents and participating in litigation development. In addition, our interns meet influencers in the legal field including judges and legal scholars. We are always looking for students interested in non-paid internships to participate in our program. See what our interns are saying about their experience at NCLA. Click here to apply.

How does NCLA protect Americans from the Administrative State?

NCLA is a nonpartisan nonprofit civil rights organization founded by prominent legal scholar, Philip Hamburger to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State. NCLA’s public-interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy represents clients with standing to sue government agencies and put a stop to unlawful practices. Read more about our mission and watch  our video.

How can I receive updates from NCLA?

NCLA delivers unique content right to your inbox so that you can stay informed of upcoming events and how NCLA continues the fight against the Administrative State. Sign up here. You can also find us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and YouTube.

Where can I find out about job openings at NCLA?

You can find information about open job searches on our Careers page.

What are some other ways to get involved with NCLA?

NCLA hosts a Lunch & Law speaker series where we invite dynamic panelists to address the problems with the Administrative State and cases brought about as a result of its threat to our civil liberties. These events are held monthly at NCLA’s Washington, DC headquarters. Sign up to receive alerts regarding upcoming events!

Celebrating Five Years in the Fray

As I sat listening to last November’s Supreme Court oral argument in SEC v. Cochran, it occurred to me that NCLA had been litigating cases for barely four years. This unheard-of timeline for a new public-interest firm to reach the legal world’s commanding heights attests to NCLA’s dynamism, so our team is justifiably proud of the progress we have made toward dismantling unlawful administrative power. 

Five years in, NCLA has played a leading role in calling out unconstitutional administrative law judges, unwinding the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium, vindicating natural immunity to Covid, stopping experimental vaccine mandates, reversing ATF’s criminal bump stock ban, and now opposing Biden’s lawless student loan debt cancellation. Before NCLA arrived on the scene, other groups were not pursuing the kinds of cases and arguments NCLA uses to prevail. Now they are. That’s fantastic because our Alliance needs all the help we can muster against the Administrative State, and our combined efforts will bring down Leviathan sooner.

Our own successes have accelerated NCLA past the proof-of-concept stage, beyond the prototype phase, and right into full-scale production of original lawsuits. In fact, one media detractor this past year labeled NCLA a “right-wing litigation factory.” Our nonpartisanship aside, we don’t take that as a criticism. After all, despite a smaller budget and fewer attorneys, NCLA surpasses even long-established rivals in identifying, filing, and ultimately winning strategically important cases.

Like any good organization though, we test and learn as we go, constantly looking for ways to improve our case selection, enhance our litigating efficiency, scale our efforts, better message our ideas, and grow our base of support. This past year’s successes taught us that, despite losses in lower courts, our arguments frequently will prevail as we appeal to higher ones. Confirmation of that working theory engenders optimism about our docket and emboldens belief in our entire strategic litigation approach. 

Exposing the lack of due process of law and other pathologies of administrative rule has allowed NCLA to hold the “administrative statists” at bay. By insisting that judges judge, legislators legislate, and—crucially—that bureaucrats do neither, NCLA is leading the long march to take back the institutions of American self-government. 

None of the accolades NCLA has enjoyed since our founding in 2017 would have been possible without numerous brave clients and generous supporters. These farsighted friends of freedom—some of whom received richly deserved recognition at our Fifth Anniversary Gala—have enabled NCLA to stop the government from violating many people’s civil liberties. Philip Hamburger and I hope you enjoy reading about the achievements this annual report chronicles and will pass it along to others who might join the new civil liberties movement. Much work remains to be done!

What is the Administrative State?

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