Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $18,445,910
Expenses: $9,987,679
Assets: $41,105,351

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a center-left legal advocacy group involved in issues related to race and ethnicity, immigration, limits on war-related government power, LGBT and gender issues, and other matters. Its advocacy focuses around its interpretation of U.S. Constitutional rights and rights under the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1

Founded in 1966, CCR originally fought racism. As of 2019, however, many of its active cases focused on immigration and war-related issues. 2 Its highlighted historical cases include suits related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and allegations of torture by U.S. officials. 3


The Center for Constitutional Rights is involved in 13 issue areas. 4 Those areas are immigration, abuses by corporations, free speech, policing concerns, drone killings, government surveillance, imprisonments at Guantanamo Bay, alleged LGBT persecution, mass incarceration, alleged profiling of Muslims, racial issues, gender-based violence, support for Palestinians, and alleged war crimes.

In addition to fighting for its issues under U.S. Constitutional arguments, CCR supports the United Nations’ Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The Declaration cites a number of rights – such as the right to life and liberty, and the right to equality regardless of birth. 5 CCR, however, has taken on cases supporting abortion, and opposed Republican efforts in Congress to defund Title X recipients which provide abortions. 67
While it primarily engages in legal action, it also has two legal educational programs. One is an internship, the other a fellowship, and both are intended to provide young legal activists the opportunity to learn what CCR does and how it engages in its mission. 8

CCR also hosts a petition platform and organizes activist-oriented events. 9

Major Cases

Center for Constitutional Rights has won a number of cases since its founding. Below are several of the most prominent.

United States v. Dellinger

In this case, CCR defended members of the “Chicago Eight” who were accused of violating a number of laws during riots and protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. While 175 guilty verdicts were handed down, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned the convictions. 10

According to the website for “The History Channel,” the 21-week Chicago Eight trial became a circus during which President Richard Nixon, the war in Vietnam, racism, and other issues were attacked by CCR and its clients. 11

Rasul v. Bush and Boumediene v. Bush

These cases were won by CCR related to the rights of alleged terrorists detained by the George. W. Bush administration at Guantanamo Bay. Both were decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of detainees. 13

The Court’s 2004 Rasul decision opened the door to U.S. courts considering cases brought by detainees and their advocates. 14 Boumediene was decided in 2008 in light of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act and the 2006 Military Commissions Act. CCR and other groups argued that the two laws unconstitutionally restricted the rights of detainees. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed.

Daniels, et al. v. the City of New York

CCR won this 1999 case in 2003 via a settlement after arguing that New York City’s stop-and-frisk campaign consisted of illegal race-based discrimination. 15 In that settlement, the city paid $167,500 to 10 people in restitution and agreed to end stop-and-frisk policies. 16 CCR reports that the settlement also included audits by the New York City Police Department and reports issued to CCR on those audits. Finally, the police department was to provide workshops on the legal rights of people stopped by police.

CCR later filed another case, Floyd v. City of New York, claiming that the city was not following the terms of the settlement and was engaging in increased stop-and-frisk activities. In 2014, the administration of then-newly-elected mayor Bill de Blasio dropped its appeal of CCR’s court victory in Floyd.

Recent Activities

Center for Constitutional Rights’ legal actions are supplemented by its political and cultural activism. Below are several examples of its lawsuits and other actions in 2013, 2016, and through the first half of the Trump administration.

Color of Change v. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation

CCR joined left-wing advocacy group Color of Change in seeking access to federal agencies’ monitoring and surveillance of Movement for Black Lives members and organizers. 17 The 2016 lawsuit was settled in April 2019. The lawsuit was similar to one later filed by the ACLU, which accused federal agencies of engaging in baseless and racist attacks on black activists. 18 Federal agencies allegedly viewed black activists as targets for conversion by Islamic terrorism groups.

Doe v. Hood

CCR took on this LGBT case in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of sodomy bans in the 2003 Lawrence case. CCR previously won the freedom of 800 sex offenders in Louisiana who were jailed because they engaged in sodomy, and filed the Doe case because Mississippi had not changed its laws after Lawrence decision. 19

Opposition to Trump Administration

CCR opposes the Trump administration policy which restricts immigration from several Muslim-majority nations which critics have called a “Muslim ban.” In addition to filing several lawsuits and accusing the Trump administration of supporting white nationalism, the organization released a report which claimed that waivers under the ban do not go far enough to help refugees and others. 20 CCR’s report focused on refugees from Yemen. 21

CCR has aligned with the left-wing so-called “Resistance” against the Trump administration. Its website outlines a number of tactics and resources for organizing against the administration. 22

Prison Partnership Transparency

CCR’s lawsuit against two federal agencies ended in a decision which allowed CCR access to government records related to private prisons. Opposition by private prison contractors was overruled by a court which said the companies’ desire to keep records private did not have standing. 23

Opposition to Israel

Controversial Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour spoke in 2018 at a CCR-sponsored event supporting Palestinians against Israel. CCR and Sarsour support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is designed to pressure Israel regarding its treatment of Palestinians. 24 Sarsour has been accused of engaging in anti-Semitism. 25

Guantanamo Bay

The Center for Constitutional Rights coordinated with the Center for Victims of Torture to write a letter asking the Biden Administration to close Guantanamo Bay. The letter claims the base is used for “unlawful mass detention”. 26 The letter has received support from over 150 international human rights organizations. 27


The Center for Constitutional Rights earned $13,543,646 in 2017 and spent $5,404,204 that year. These numbers were dramatically lower than CCR’s 2016 revenues and expenses, which were $22,733,539 and $12,209,542, respectively. 28

Program revenue is the biggest difference between the two years – as well as the difference between CCR’s approximately $9.8 million and $8.3 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively. 29

CCR’s annual reports outline how the group received about $3 million more in 2017 than in 2016 through grants and contributions, and nearly $10 million more in attorneys’ fees and court awards. 3031

CCR’s annual report did not provide the information necessary to determine which cases brought in the $10 million in court awards and attorneys’ fees.


The executive director of Center for Constitutional Rights is Vincent Warren. Its advocacy director is Nadi Ben-Youssef, and its Legal Director is Baher Azmy. Donita Judge is associate executive director.

Warren earned $259,846 in 2017; Azmy earned $210,322. 32


  1. Center for Constitutional Rights, What We Do, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  2. Center for Constitutional Rights, Active Cases, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  3. Center for Constitutional Rights, Historic Cases, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  4. Center for Constitutional Rights, What We Do, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  5. United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Published 2015. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  6. Center for Constitutional Reform, Abramowiz v. Lefkowitz, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  7. Center for Constitutional Reform, “CCR statement on House vote for Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,” February 18, 2011. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  8. Center for Constitutional Reform, Training the Next Generation, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  9. Center for Constitutional Reform, “Stay up to the date on the stop and frisk reform process,” Accessed May 6, 2019.
  10. Center for Constitutional Reform, United States v. Dellinger, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  11. The History Channel, “Chicago 8 trial opens in Chicago,” Accessed May 6, 2019.
  12. Center for Constitutional Reform, Rasul v. Bush, Accessed May 6, 2019.[/note] 12Center for Constitutional Reform, Boumediene v. Bush/Al Odah v. United States, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  13. Center for Constitutional Reform, Rasul et al. vs. Bush, President of the United States, et al., Argued 2004. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  14. Center for Constitutional Reform, Daniels, et. al v. City of New York, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  15. New York City Law Department Office of the Corporation Counsel, “NYPD announces settlement in Daniels class-action “stop-and-frisk” lawsuit settlement formalizes existing police policy of not stopping suspects based on racial bias,” September 18, 2003. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  16. Center for Constitutional Reform, “Color of Change v. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  17. American Civil Liberties Union, “FBI won’t hand over its surveillance records on ‘black identity extremists,’ so we’re suing,” March 21, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  18. Center for Constitutional Reform, Doe v. Hood, Accessed May 6, 2019.
  19. Center for Constitutional Reform, “CCR: Supreme Court Muslim ban ruling a ‘historic judicial mistake,’” June 27, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  20. Center for Constitutional Reform, “Window dressing the Muslim ban,” June 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  21. Center for Constitutional Reform, “Resources for the Resistance,” September 15, 2017. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  22. Center for Constitutional Reform, “CCR News: Victory against private prisons!” October 16, 2017. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  23. Center for Constitutional Rights Facebook page, “Linda Sarsour speaking at #PalestineIsEverywhere,” June 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019.

  24. Becket Adams, “Linda Sarsour once attacked Trump as ‘anti-Semitic’ for doing what she just did today,” January 28, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019.
  25. Swain, Elise. “More than 150 International Organizations Call on Biden to Close Guantánamo on 21st Anniversary.” The Intercept. The Intercept, January 11, 2023.
  26. Swain, Elise. “More than 150 International Organizations Call on Biden to Close Guantánamo on 21st Anniversary.” The Intercept. The Intercept, January 11, 2023.
  27. Center for Constitutional Rights, 2017 990, Accessed May 4, 2019.
  28. Center for Constitutional Rights, 2015 990, Accessed May 4, 2019.
  29. Center for Constitutional Reform, 2017 Annual Report, Accessed May 4, 2019.
  30. Center for Constitutional Reform, 2016 Annual Report, Accessed May 4, 2019.
  31. Center for Constitutional Rights, 2017 990, Accessed May 4, 2019.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Ajamu Baraka
    Former Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1966

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Jun Form 990 $18,445,910 $9,987,679 $41,105,351 $840,817 N $16,898,851 $954,479 $71,034 $1,204,213
    2020 Jun Form 990 $13,620,263 $10,720,479 $32,834,489 $2,040,924 N $10,504,589 $2,661,846 $313,597 $770,292 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $10,874,329 $10,048,172 $28,756,938 $974,557 Y $8,266,917 $1,986,729 $362,924 $673,192 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $13,543,646 $8,139,442 $27,828,019 $907,059 N $10,654,015 $2,522,273 $217,841 $1,007,247 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $22,733,539 $10,523,997 $22,340,564 $881,113 N $10,411,737 $12,167,218 $67,501 $746,067 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $9,842,822 $7,419,640 $9,998,139 $957,187 N $7,396,478 $2,356,128 $36,796 $797,905 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $8,331,942 $7,256,869 $7,841,163 $934,080 N $8,123,289 $5,511 $36,224 $769,896 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $6,799,179 $7,234,448 $6,974,924 $1,011,925 N $5,824,370 $656,212 $50,211 $944,736 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $6,695,972 $7,893,314 $7,552,942 $1,228,122 N $5,897,652 $528,820 $45,482 $876,391 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $7,063,475 $7,348,802 $8,272,667 $972,302 N $6,947,120 $51,258 $60,700 $823,236 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $6,286,295 $6,666,253 $8,509,964 $783,861 N $6,122,835 $43,491 $51,970 $792,670 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

    NEW YORK, NY 10012-2317