CIR's Mission


Publication: 2013-07-01



Name:Owen Ambur


Name:Center for Individual Rights


The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense of individual liberties against the increasingly aggressive and unchecked authority of federal and state governments. CIR seeks to enforce constitutional limits on state and federal power. We are not a legal services firm nor a public policy institute. Rather, we aggressively litigate and publicize a handful of carefully selected cases that advance the right of individuals to govern themselves according to the natural exercise of their own reason. Our cases challenge excessive government regulation, unconstitutional state action, and other entanglements characteristic of the modern state. We make no apologies for bringing only those cases that overtly advance this agenda... CIR is a 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible up to the limits allowed by law.


  • CIR ClientsCIR provides free legal representation to deserving clients who cannot otherwise afford or obtain legal counsel and whose individual rights are threatened. We represent real individuals who have been harmed by expansive state action. Demonstrating the concrete harms of the modern welfare state helps set legal precedent and, just as important, furthers the public case for limited government.

  • CIR Staff

  • Terence J. PellTerence J. Pell is CIR's President. Mr. Pell received his Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 1996, his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1981, and his B.A. from Haverford College in 1976. Prior to working for CIR, Mr. Pell worked as an attorney with the firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn. From 1985-1988, Mr. Pell was a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. He later served as General Counsel and Chief of Staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He joined CIR in 1997.

  • Michael E. RosmanMichael E. Rosman is CIR's General Counsel. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rochester in 1981, majoring in economics and political science. He received his J.D. in 1984 from Yale Law School. Mr. Rosman worked as an associate at Rosenman & Colin in New York City from 1984-93. Mr. Rosman joined CIR in March 1994. Mr. Rosman is the author of several articles, including: "Ambiguity and the First Amendment: Some Thoughts On All-White Advertising," 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 289 (1993); and "Standing Alone: Standing Under The Fair Housing Act," 60 Mo. L. Rev. 547 (1995), "Thoughts on Bakke and Its Effect on Race- Conscious Decision-Making," 2002 U. Chi. Legal F. 45 Book Review of Kent Greenawalt's Fighting Words, 13 Constitutional Commentary 317 (1996) Mr. Rosman has litigated throughout the federal court system, and has argued many times in the federal courts of appeals. He also successfully argued on behalf of CIR client Tony Morrison in the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case of United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000).

  • Christopher J. HajecChristopher J. Hajec is one of CIR's Associate Counsels. Chris comes to CIR from the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Navy, where he served both as a defense attorney and as appellate government counsel. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Miami and received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1990. He joined CIR in September 2004 and was admitted to the D.C. Bar in May 2005.

  • Michelle A. ScottMichelle A. Scott is one of CIR's Associate Counsels. Michelle was formerly a litigation associate with Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram, P.C. before joining CIR in 2005. She has a B.A. in Biology and Philosophy from Illinois Wesleyan University and received her J.D. from Drake University Law School in 1995. She is a member of the Bar of Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and the District of Columbia.

  • Megan Beth LottMegan Beth Lott is CIR's Senior Director of Development. Megan graduated from The College of William and Mary in 1982 with a B.A. in Government. Formerly Senior Director of Membership and Development at the American Legislative Exchange Council, Megan has also raised funds for the Lab School of Washington, the National Council for Adoption, the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, and the Leadership Institute. Megan is a Lifetime Member of the Lexington Who's Who and has raised over $100 million for the causes she believes in. She joined CIR in 2008.

  • CIR Board of Directors

  • Jeremy A. RabkinJeremy A. Rabkin (Chairman) is a professor of International Law at the George Mason Law School. Professor Rabkin is an expert in government regulation, bureaucracy, public law and policy, and the judiciary. Professor Rabkin received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 1983.

  • Larry P. ArnnLarry P. Arnn is President of Hillsdale College. Dr. Arnn previously served as the President of the Claremont Institute in Southern California. While there he was the founding chairman of the California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209), which prohibits race preferences in state hiring, contracting and admissions. Dr. Arnn has a Masters and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School.

  • Robert P. GeorgeRobert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. In 2005, Dr. George won a Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement and the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Liberal Arts of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School and earned a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University.

  • James B. Mann, Esq.James B. Mann, Esq. is General Counsel of SunLight General Capital LLC. Previously, Mr. Mann served as Director of Structured Finance of Soltage, Inc., Director of Derivative Products Group of Societé Generale, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and General Counsel of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He received an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

  • Arthur Stephen Penn, Esq.Arthur Stephen Penn, Esq. is President of Elmrock Capital, Inc. Prior to the founding of Elmrock, Mr. Penn was a practicing attorney in New York City. He earned his J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 1961 and his B.A. from Cornell in 1956.

  • James PieresonJames Piereson is President of the William E. Simon Foundation. He is the former executive director and trustee of the John M. Olin Foundation. Before joining the foundation in 1981, Mr. Piereson was a member of the political science faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Terence J. Pell, Esq.Terence J. Pell, Esq. is President of CIR. Prior to working for CIR, Mr. Pell served as General Counsel and Chief of Staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. From 1985 through 1988, Mr. Pell was a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. He received his law degree from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. from Haverford College.

  • Gerald Walpin, Esq.Gerald Walpin, Esq. is a retired senior partner of of KMZ Rosenman, formerly Rosenman & Colin, in New York. Mr. Walpin served as the Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) from January 2007 until June 2009. He received his law degree from Yale University.

  • Mark S. VeneziaMark S. Venezia, retired from Eaton Vance Management at the end of 2012. There he was Vice President, founder and Director of the Global Fixed Income Department, and portfolio manager of mutual funds including the Global Macro Absolute Return Fund. Mr. Venezia was previously Vice President of Network Utilities, the first options pricing software provider to run off of a personal computer network. He left in 1984, to start Eaton Vance's first mortgage-backed securities fund. Mr. Venezia is a C.F.A. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, M.A. in Philosophy (A.B.D.) from the University of Illinois, and B.A. in Economics from Stanford University. He is currently a student at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University.