June 2011, Volume 20, Number 3

IJ Puts Eminent Domain on the Ropes in National City

As the Rocky movies taught us, it doesn’t matter where things stand after the first round, it’s who’s left standing at the final bell that counts. In the three-and-a-half-year slugfest between IJ client Community Youth Athletic Center (CYAC) and National City, Calif., only the underdog was still on his feet when the judge issued his…

Limousine Lockout

Until recently, Nashville, Tenn., was a city with a vibrant transportation network.  Robust competition between taxicabs and the Music City’s many limousine and sedan services meant you could take a cab from downtown to the airport for just $25, or you could pay the same price to go in a limo or sedan.  As a…

Victory for El Paso Street Vendors

By Matt Miller IJ’s National Street Vending Initiative recently scored its first victory when the city of El Paso repealed its protectionist regulations that had prohibited vendors from operating within 1,000 feet of any restaurant, grocer or convenience store, and also prohibited vendors from stopping and waiting for customers. These now-repealed restrictions made it almost…

Defending the First Amendment at the Supreme Court

On March 28, 2011, I argued Arizona Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett/McComish v. Bennett before the U.S. Supreme Court. The consolidated cases brought by the Institute for Justice and the Goldwater Institute concern the constitutionality of the so-called “matching funds” provision of the wildly misnamed Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act. Under that provision, candidates who…

Research Shows Clean Elections’ Harms

In Arizona’s so-called “Clean Elections” system—the program at issue in the U.S. Supreme Court case IJ argued in March—each time a privately supported candidate or an independent group spends a buck over a government-set limit, the publicly funded opponent gets another buck. It is not hard to see how these “matching funds” discourage speech by…

Forfeiting Accountability: Georgia Lawsuit Targets Hidden Civil Forfeiture Funds

By Scott Bullock IJ’s nationwide initiative against forfeiture abuse brought us to Georgia in March. There, we filed a lawsuit to shine a light on off-budget law enforcement slush funds that are created with property and cash taken by civil forfeiture. Under draconian civil forfeiture laws in Georgia and most other states, the police can…

Returning to Our Roots

By Paul Avelar The very first case the Institute for Justice filed 20 years ago was a challenge to Washington, D.C.’s cosmetology licensing law on behalf of African hairbraiders. To lawfully offer hairbraiding services, the District required would-be practitioners to invest thousands of hours and thousands of dollars in a training program that had nothing…

Behind the Scenes at the CYAC Trial

By Jeff Rowes Going to trial is about the hardest thing a lawyer does. The nights are sleepless. There are thousands of documents. Witnesses say unexpected, even crazy, things. You have to write entire briefs in one day and be prepared to argue any legal issue on the spot. The judge could do anything at…

Buzzing By The Constitution

By Chip Mellor During a recent argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan sought to minimize the importance of an attorney’s statement with which she disagreed by saying “some people may use certain buzz words and other people don’t use those buzz words.” Sadly, the problem with “buzz words” in constitutional cases stems…

Your Investment in IJ Remains True After 20 Years

By Melanie Hildreth If you invested in gold in 1991, you’re probably pretty happy today. (In fact, maybe you retired early and are reading this on the beach.) What about if you began donating to IJ in 1991? What do you have to show for it today? To start, you would have helped save more…

School Choice Takes Off

By Dick Komer What a difference a year makes! Or perhaps more accurately, what a difference an election makes. The 2010 elections brought in a new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the new Speaker of the House John Boehner threw his considerable influence behind efforts to revive the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship…

Taking the Measures of Freedom to Legislatures

In March, IJ client and journalist Carla Main, above, testified before the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee in support of the Citizen Participation Act, a bill that would curb frivolous defamation lawsuits, also known as “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” or SLAPP suits. Main discussed how she was sued for defamation by Dallas…

Political Privacy Should be a Civil Right

By Paul Sherman Attorney David Marston and former Bush-administration official John Yoo wrote a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal making the case against the White House’s efforts to force federal contractors to disclose contributions, not just to candidates, but to any group that might run political advertisements. As readers of IJ’s Make No…

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