Sunday, May 27, 2007

Designing Women and Deregulatory Takings

The Institute for Justice finds itself stepping up to the plate to whack some batting practice fastballs:

Vickee Byrum is an interior designer, but, remarkably, the State of Texas insists that she keep that fact a secret.

While anyone in Texas may legally provide interior design services, state law dictates that only those with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers” or use the words “interior design” to describe what they do.

On May 9, 2007, the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm that defends free speech and the rights of entrepreneurs, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin on behalf of Vickee and three other entrepreneurs challenging Texas’ “titling” law as a violation of free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

And in Minneapolis the legacy of Hubert Humphrey is dying hard:

...the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter (IJ-MN), ... filed documents today in U.S. Federal Court to join with the city of Minneapolis to defend the city’s free-market reforms that removed a cap on the number of taxis allowed to operate within city limits. The reforms, finalized on March 30, will open the market to entrepreneurs who are fit, willing and able to serve the public, increase the number of cabs by 180 in the coming years, and eliminate completely the cap on the number of cabs in Minneapolis by 2010.

In response to these free-market and consumer-friendly reforms, the established taxicab cartel sued the city on March 13, demanding the reversal of reforms and proclaiming its owners should be able to keep the spoils of the old law that excluded new competitors from the taxi market in Minneapolis for more than 10 years.

“Private companies cannot be allowed to force the government to outlaw competition,” said Nick Dranias, staff attorney with IJ-MN. “The city did the right thing when it opened the taxi market, but now the cartel is suing to maintain its stranglehold on the industry and keep out newcomers. The cartel’s action is the last gasp of a dinosaur that free market reforms have made extinct.”

The cartel's position seems to be that their private property rights include a right to exclude new competitors. They claim a 5th Amendment protection to that right.

No comments: