Karen Sampson

A Hero for Free Speech

This past August, the Institute for Justice lost a hero and a dear friend. Karen Sampson, the lead plaintiff in IJ’s 2006 challenge to Colorado’s burdensome campaign finance laws, passed away at her home in Parker North. Karen’s home was at the center of a free speech fight in which the state’s campaign finance laws were exploited as a means to silence Karen and her neighbors when they opposed the annexation of their neighborhood to the nearby town of Parker.

Joining with IJ, Karen echoed the words heard so often from our clients over the years—words that nonetheless remain inspiring each time we hear them: “I am pursuing these actions through IJ because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.”

Ultimately, Karen won. Even after her victory, however, she continued to support IJ and other free speech clients across the nation in their fight for freedom. Karen was so appreciative of IJ’s work that she became a member of our Four Pillars Society, including IJ in her estate plans to ensure we have the resources needed to litigate for years to come.

Karen’s dedication to IJ’s mission was typical of the good will, leadership and resilience she demonstrated as a client. And while we grieve her passing, we celebrate the legacy of liberty she leaves behind.

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