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Supreme Court of the United States

You Asked, We Answer: What Is a Pre-Enforcement Challenge?

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
October 17, 2017

A graphic designer, a photographer, a custom artist, and a filmmaker walk into a courtroom.

There’s no punchline here, though. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing 303 Creative in Colorado, Amy Lynn Photography Studio in Wisconsin, Brush & Nib Studio in Arizona, and Telescope Media Group in Minnesota as they challenge unconstitutional laws in their respective states. 

These laws would force these artistic businesses to take on projects that violate their owners’ faith, such as celebrating and promoting same-sex weddings. And in some cases, that has kept our clients from entering the wedding industry at all.

When we file these cases, we often hear the comment: “No one has formally asked them to create custom artwork for a same-sex wedding. How can they file a lawsuit for something that hasn’t even happened yet?”

But the great news is that, in our country, we don’t have to violate an unconstitutional law and suffer the penalty in order to challenge that law in court. This is called a “pre-enforcement challenge.”

ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco explains further:




Pre-enforcement challenges are more common than you might think, especially when used to advance liberal objectives. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have used them, for instance, to challenge laws regulating abortion before they even take effect.



We don’t have to wait in fear that an unjust law will be used against us. Thankfully, we have an avenue to challenge those types of laws. And when our clients take a stand against these unconstitutional laws to defend the right to live and work according to their conscience, that benefits everyone.

To learn more about our clients who have filed pre-enforcement challenges, visit

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Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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