Rutherford Institute

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The Rutherford Institute is an Albemarle County-based non-profit organization "dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights." The organization was founded in 1982 by John Whitehead. [1] The group files lawsuits on behalf of individuals and organizations who have had their constitutional rights infringed upon in some way. The institute is named after Samuel Rutherford, a 17th century Scottish theologian who believed in the primacy of the law. In 2009, the Rutherford Institute received over 10,000 requests for assistance[2].


  • In December 2010, Rutherford filed suit against the Transportation Security Administration claiming that airport security procedures violate the fourth amendment[3].
  • In November 2012, Rutherford weighed in on the controversy sparked when the North Downtown Residents Association conducted a report on homelessness in Charlottesville and on the Downtown Mall in particular. The NDRA had called for the city to pass ordinances banning profanity and sitting or lying within ten feet of buildings. Whitehead wrote in his report that "the proposals contained in the NDRA report are at once unnecessary and rife with legal pitfalls." [4]


Coordinates:Erioll world.svg.png 38°04′33″N 78°29′42″E / 38.0757293701172°N -78.4950790405273°W / 38.0757293701172; --78.4950790405273


  1. Web. Albemarle Co. Nonprofit Celebrates 37 Years of Defending U.S. Constitution, Carly Kemper, News Article, WVIR NBC29, June 30, 2019, retrieved July 6, 2019.
  2. Web. History of The Rutherford Institute, The Rutherford Institute, retrieved December 10, 2010.
  3. Web. Rutherford Institute files second suit over TSA procedures, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, December 7, 2010, retrieved December 10, 2010.
  4. Web. Response to North Downtown Residents Association report, John Whitehead, Rutherford Institute, November 21, 2012, retrieved November 26, 2012.