The Equal Justice Alliance is a coalition formed in October of 2006 to preserve freedom of speech and assembly by attempting to stop the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). We had our initial meeting in Washington DC on October 17, 2006 . Nine representatives from interested organizations attended in person and an additional three were included by conference phone. At that meeting the name of the organization was decided; and officers were elected from the attendees: Peter Muller, Chair -- Alex Hershaft -- Vice-chair – and Odette Wilkins, Executive Director.


EJA opted to try to stop AETA from becoming law in the House of Representatives. Since the Senate and Congress had adjourned until after the general elections of November 7th 2006, our best bet seemed to be to attempt to stop the bill when Congress reconvened on November 13th 2007 by lobbying members of the House. The vote had been scheduled to take place that evening at 6:30pm. In the House, the bill had been entered on the suspension (fast-track) calendar, which is normally reserved for non-controversial bills. Bills on the suspension calendar are voted up or down by the members present on the floor.. If two-thirds of the members present vote for it, it passes – otherwise it fails. Our goal was to get enough members to the floor by 6:30 p.m. so that over one-third of those present would vote against it. Around 3:00 PM the schedule had been changed and AETA was on the House Floor that very second. Dennis Kucinich from Ohio was the only House member who had noticed the change in schedule and made it to the floor. He was the only one to speak out against it. There were five other representatives on the floor and so the Bill’s sponsor (Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin) and four of his cronies had the required two-thirds (four out of six) to pass AETA. Five out of 435 members of the House of Representatives were able to pass this ACT by an underhanded maneuver – but consistent with the House rules. On November 27, 2006 , George W. Bush signed the AETA into law.


The mission of EJA had now become a greater challenge. EJA is focused on methods to undo the effects of AETA. We are currently actively pursuing:

  1. Coordinating social justice activists to demand that Congress reverse the law
  2. Persuading a federal court to declare the law unenforceable
  3. Persuading federal attorneys not to prosecute under AETA
  4. Seek other pro-active federal legislation that mitigates or de-facto repeals some of the most deleterious provisions of AETA
  5. Demand a declaration of policy by the Justice Department for prosecution under AETA.
  6. Demand the restoration of full democracy in the US through legislative and administrative actions

EJA is seeking statements of support from other Social Justice Advocate Organizations.

We appreciate statements of support and partnering with us by becoming corporate members of the EJA coalition:

Membership is open to bona fide organizations that have an expressed desire to oppose the enforcement of AETA.

General eligibility for membership:

  • The organization is unqualifiedly opposed to AETA as enacted.
  • The organization is willing to join public fora to expose the deleterious effect of those acts.
  • The organization is willing to have its name appear on the letterhead of communications send out by EJA.
  • The organization is willing to activate its membership through phone or e-mail trees to petition officeholders to take legislative action directed at nullifying the act.

Level of membership:

  • Full membership – organizational dues $500/year votes on all issues
  • Associate membership – organizational dues $100/year votes on issues except expenditures over $1,000
  • Affiliates – no dues does not vote but is welcome to express views.

To see organizations that have expressed their concurrence with the goals of EJA and their support for EJA’s efforts to implement them: please click here [link to list of supporting organization on new page]

Please stay in touch with us by email: info@equaljusticealliance.com


Peter Muller

Alex Hershaft
Vice Chair
Odette Wilkens
Executive Director

Selected Supporters