Impact Litigation

Building on the lessons of earlier civil rights movements, we believe in the power of impact litigation to help drive change for Americans living in U.S. territories who are treated as second-class citizens. 

facebook4.jpgLed by our President Neil Weare, an accomplished civil rights attorney and graduate of Yale Law School, we are fighting for equality and civil rights through groundbreaking legal action.  Courts can offer a more level playing field than Congress for those who are marginalized by political inequality.

Current Cases

Fitisemanu v. United States challenges a discriminatory federal law that denies recognition of citizenship to passport-holding, tax-paying Americans living in Utah, simply because they were born in American Samoa, a U.S. territory since 1900. The case, currently in federal district court, calls into question the continuing validity of the Insular Cases, a series of controversial, Plessy-era Supreme Court decisions. Equal citizenship is a right, not a privilege.

  • Learn more about Fitisemanu here.

Segovia v. United States is a federal voting rights lawsuit on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court which seeks to expand the right to vote in U.S. territories by highlighting that the right to vote as an American should not depend on where you live.

  • Learn more about Segovia here.

Rosselló v. United States argues that by denying U.S. citizens in the territories voting representation in the federal government, the United States is violating its international law obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and other international agreements. Equally American has filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of current and former elected officials from Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The United States must live up to its own democratic principles in U.S. territories.

Prior Cases

Tuaua v. United States: In 2016, Equally American (then “We the People Project”), former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, and prominent American Samoan attorney Charles V. Ala'ilima sought Supreme Court review of a ruling by the D.C. Circuit in Tuaua v. United States holding that Congress may deny citizenship to persons born in U.S. territories. An 8-Justice Supreme Court declined to review the much-criticized decision, despite seven amicus briefs filed by a diverse array of academics, former judges, current and former officials from U.S. territories, and civil rights groups. As a result, the question of whether citizenship is a constitutional right or congressional privilege for the nearly 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories remains unresolved outside the D.C. Circuit.

  • Learn more about Tuaua here.

To help us make the case for equal rights and representation for the nearly 4 million U.S. citizens living in U.S. territories, take this quick survey or sign our Equal Rights petition.

Support our groundbreaking impact litigation here.

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