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Lawsuit Filed to Challenge Vote-Suppressing ID Bill 

voter id requirementThe Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Advancement Project, and Arnold & Porter LLP, has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court challenging the egregious Photo ID bill recently signed into law in Pennsylvania.


The lawsuit alleges that the law burdens the fundamental right to vote under the Pennsylvania constitution.  


Our clients are people like Viviette Applewhite, a 92-year-old African American woman who worked as a welder during World War II and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the civil rights movement. Ms. Applewhite has voted in nearly every election since at least 1960, but she cannot obtain identification that complies with the new voter ID law.   


If the law stays in place, Ms. Applewhite will not vote in November --- the first time in more than 50 years that she missed an election.  


The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are senior citizens whose records have been lost or destroyed over the years; veterans whose military ID cards are inadequate under the new law; and others with disabilities or with limited resources for whom the law's requirements will be unacceptably difficult to meet.  


Major organizations which advocate on behalf of the disenfranchised voters have also joined as plaintiffs: the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, and the Homeless Advocacy Project.


With the complaint, we filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to prevent the law from going into effect. The motion also asks the court to set an expedited trial schedule to allow the case to be tried well in advance of the November elections. 

Read the complaint

Read the Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Expedited Trial

Plaintiff Videos:

Viviette Applewhite

Gloria Cuttino 

Wilola Lee 

Petition Filed to Save Community Group's Land

Central ClubAt risk of losing formerly vacant land it has cared for since the 1940s, the Central Club for Boys and Girls is fighting to stop sheriff's sale of lots the group uses for a variety of community activities. The Law Center, representing the Central Club, has filed a petition with the Philadelphia Commonwealth Court to stay execution of the sale.


Based in the Grays Ferry area of South Philadelphia, the Central Club was founded by noted community leader Mrs. Mabel Wilson, who moved to the neighborhood in 1928 and lived there until her death in 2010.  


"That land is really the legacy of Central Club for Boys and Girls," says Stanley Wilson, current leader of the Central Club and son of Mabel.  "This organization has continuously utilized this land for youth development and senior citizen care through provisions of the produce from the gardens and plants and flowers.  This space has been instrumental in providing constructive educational and recreational activities for the youth of the community and the surrounding areas as people have come throughout Philadelphia to these lots."

Prevented from Enrolling, Student with Autism Returns to School with Law Center Help

H.J. is a seven-year-old student with autism, whose family came to the Law Center last October. His family had moved to a new elementary school in January 2011, but the school refused to let him enroll. As a result, he was out of school from January through October of 2011 -- nearly a full year. So early in his education, and especially considering his autism, such a break in H.J.'s education could be extremely detrimental to his future.  


Days after the Law Center began to represent the family, the District allowed H.J. to return to school. It then evaluated H.J., created an Individualized Education Program for him, and found a new placement for him. After further discussion, the family and the District reached an agreement to settle the matter. In addition to the compensatory services for H.J., the District paid attorneys' fees to the Law Center.

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The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia uses high impact legal strategies to improve the well-being and life prospects of the Philadelphia region's most vulnerable populations by assuring that they have access to the resources and services that all of us need to lead our lives.

The Law Center opened its doors in 1969 as one of the eight original affiliates of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and in 1974 leaders of the Philadelphia Bar Association incorporated the Law Center as an independent nonprofit in order to ensure the continuation of its focus on systemic change by a dedicated staff of public interest attorneys.  

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia is a registered charitable organization. A copy of the official registration may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania 1.800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.