“Rutgers clinical law students don’t simply study the law; they often make it.”

Clinical law students and faculty have established important national and statewide precedents in advancing justice for underserved persons, groups and communities at the highest levels. Highlights of those precedents include:

U.S. Supreme Court:

Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979) (establishing in the U.S. Supreme Court that random highway police stops of motorists for license and registration checks are unconstitutional)

Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103 (2000) (establishing in the U.S. Supreme Court the right of SSI and Social Security disability benefit claimants to raise legal arguments on federal court judicial review of adverse agency decisions that were not first raised in the informal, non-adversarial administrative proceedings)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit:

Tomkins v. Public Service Electric Gas, 568 F.2d 1044 (3d Cir. 1977) (establishing in the Third Circuit, and serving as one of the first appellate court decisions in the nation, recognizing sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination in employment that is actionable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) 

Newark Branch NAACP v. Town of Harrison, 940 F.2d 792 (3d Cir. 1991) (establishing in the Third Circuit that municipal residency requirements for employment in municipalities with few African-American residents which produces a racially disparate hiring impact, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and requiring that employment opportunities be made available to African-Americans in the regional labor pool)

Sykes v. Apfel, 228 F.3d 259 (3d Cir. 2000) (establishing in the Third Circuit that the Social Security Administration’s policy of sole reliance on the administrative notice doctrine and the “grid framework” to deny claimants disability benefits in cases involving combined exertional and non-exertional limitations is unlawful and resulting in a change of policy for thousands of claimants in the Third Circuit region through a rare SSA Acquiescence Ruling 01-1(3) 2001)

G.L. v. Ligonier Valley Sch. Dist. Auth., 802 F.3d 601 (3d Cir. 2015) (establishing in the Third Circuit that the courts’ authority under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to remedy denial of the right to a free and appropriate education to children with disabilities, is not limited to compensatory education and other relief covering the two-year limitations' period for filing a complaint from actual or constructive knowledge of the violation but extends to the entire period of the proven rights’ violation)

N.J. Supreme Court:

Right to Choose v. Byrne, 91 N.J. 287 (1982) (establishing in the NJ Supreme Court that the NJ Constitution requires the state to pay for therapeutic abortions for indigent women, even though Congress may withhold federal Medicaid funding under the U.S. Constitution)

In re: Exec. Comm’n on Ethical Standards Re: Appearance of Rutgers Attorneys, 116 N.J. 216 (1989) (establishing in NJ Supreme Court that state university law school clinical faculty and law students can represent clients before state agencies or against the state without violating conflict of interest prohibitions)

New Jersey Coalition Against War in the Middle East v. J.M.B. Realty Corp., 138 N.J. 326 (1994) (establishing in the NJ Supreme Court that the free speech provisions of the state constitution exceed those of the First Amendment and protect the right of non-profit advocacy organizations and political candidates to distribute literature and gather petitions at the state’s privately owned shopping malls)

Raleigh Ave. Beach Ass’n v. Atlantis Beach Club, Inc., 185 N.J. 40 (2005) (establishing in the N.J. Supreme Court that under the public trust doctrine, the public is afforded reasonable access to privately-owned beaches including a suitable area for recreation on the dry sand)

New Jersey Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. N.J. & D.R., 204 N.J. 36 (2010); In re: D.C. and D.C., 203 N.J. 545 (2010) (establishing in the NJ Supreme Court the right of siblings placed in foster care to have their important interests in continued sibling association weighed in their placements)

State in re V.A., 212 N.J. 1 (2012) (establishing in the NJ Supreme Court a stricter standard of review of prosecutorial motions to try minors as adults in criminal court rather than as juveniles in family court)

Mazdabrook Commons Homeowners Ass’n v. Kahn, 210 N.J. 482 (2012) (extending in the NJ Supreme Court the free speech protections of the New Jersey Constitution to protect residents of private homeowner associations)  

Sussex Commons Assocs., LLC  v. Rutgers, The State University, 210 N.J. 521 (2012) (establishing in the NJ Supreme Court that state university law school clinical program client case files and related materials are exempt from  state open public record act and common law public disclosure requests)