Legal and Policy Studies

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  • November 13, 2017    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    The Inverted Pyramid

    10 Less Restrictive Alternatives to Occupational Licensing

    When it comes to occupational regulation, policymakers may see their options as action or inaction: licensing or no licensing. In fact, policymakers can choose from a plethora of alternatives that provide the purported benefits of licensing, without the downsides. This paper discusses 10 less restrictive alternatives to licensing that can protect consumers as well as…

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Legal and Policy Studies

Reports and commentaries on legal and policy issues by IJ legal experts

All Legal and Policy Studies

  • November 13, 2017    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    The Inverted Pyramid

    10 Less Restrictive Alternatives to Occupational Licensing

    When it comes to occupational regulation, policymakers may see their options as action or inaction: licensing or no licensing. In fact, policymakers can choose from a plethora of alternatives that provide the purported benefits of licensing, without the downsides. This paper discusses 10 less restrictive alternatives to licensing that can protect consumers as well as…

  • August 23, 2017    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents financial aid to opt their children out of the traditional public school system—have been a topic of significant public discussion and debate in recent months. Despite the increasing news coverage, however, polls show that most Americans are unfamiliar with educational choice programs. Opponents of educational choice…

  • October 19, 2016    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Opportunity Lost

    How Chicago’s food truck proximity ban hinders economic opportunity and stifles consumer choice

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says his “administration is committed to creating the conditions and opportunities that will allow this industry [food trucks] to thrive, create jobs and support a vibrant food culture across Chicago.” But actions speak louder than words, and a new analysis of data obtained through the lawsuit finds that the city’s protectionist…

  • October 5, 2016    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Enforcing the Constitution

    How the Courts Performed in 2015-2016

    The Constitution was written to limit government power, but those limits are meaningless unless judges restrain public officials when they overstep their bounds. Judicial engagement is a cutting-edge approach to judicial review that ensures that Americans receive an honest, reasoned explanation in court whenever they allege a plausible abuse of government power.  Enforcing the Constitution…

  • September 20, 2016    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    School Choice and State Constitutions

    A Guide to Designing School Choice Programs

    After reviewing each state’s constitutional provisions for passages most relevant to school choice legislation, as well as any case law or legal opinions involving those provisions, IJ found that in nearly every state in the union, a well-designed school choice program is viable.

  • September 1, 2016    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Throughout the nation, cities and counties are looking for ways to promote economic liberty and improve the well-being of their residents But all too often this desire to improve economic conditions manifests itself in expensive and wasteful corporate welfare, public investment in real estate schemes, quaint-but-inefficient forms of mass transit, and other counterproductive uses of…

  • October 5, 2015    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Enforcing the Constitution

    How the Courts Performed in 2014–2015

    The Constitution was written to limit government power, but those limits are meaningless unless judges restrain public officials when they overstep their bounds. Judicial engagement is a cutting-edge approach to judicial review that ensures that Americans receive an honest, reasoned explanation in court whenever they allege a plausible abuse of government power.  Enforcing the Constitution…

  • March 1, 2015    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Boards Behaving Badly

    How States Can Prevent Licensing Boards From Restraining Competition, Harming Consumers, and Generating Legal Liability Under North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC

    In a nutshell, states should: Charge an independent “licensing ombudsman” with reviewing the actions of state licensing boards; Charge the licensing ombudsman with a mandate to promote economic competition; Make the ombudsman responsible for conducting periodic reviews to identify ways to reduce licensing burdens; and Eliminate licensing altogether for occupations where it is unnecessary.

  • September 1, 2014    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

    How to Succeed in Your Fight for Economic Liberty

    You have the right to earn an honest living. This is called “economic liberty” and it is protected by the U.S. Constitution. But often, entrepreneurs face burdensome, arbitrary and anti-competitive laws that make it difficult, if not impossible, to earn an honest living in the occupation of their choosing. If you are an entrepreneur struggling…

  • July 1, 2014    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Untangling Regulations

    Natural Hair Braiders Fight Against Irrational Licensing

    Natural hair braiding is a beauty practice popular among many African, African-American and immigrant communities in the United States. But braiders in many states have to endure hundreds of hours of unnecessary coursework and pay thousands of dollars before they can legally work.

  • February 1, 2014    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Florida’s Dirty Dozen

    Twelve Repealers That Can Boost Business, Create Jobs,and Change Florida’s Economic Policy for the Better

    Florida legislators can make Florida more business friendly by repealing 12 anticompetitive, senseless and arbitrary laws that hold back entrepreneurs.

  • August 1, 2013    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Terms of Engagement

    How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution's Promise of Limited Government

    The Constitution was designed to limit government power and protect individuals from the tyranny of majorities and interest-group politics. But those protections are meaningless without judges who are fully committed to enforcing them, and America’s judges have largely abdicated that responsibility. All too often, instead of judging the constitutionality of government action, courts simply rationalize…

  • November 1, 2012    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks

    Why the Facts Support Food-Truck Freedom

    Using facts and real-world examples, IJ shows that there is no basis for the argument that restaurants need government intervention to “protect” them from food trucks.

  • November 1, 2012    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Food-Truck Freedom

    How to Build Better Food-Truck Laws in Your City

    In order to foster the conditions that will let food trucks thrive, this report offers recommendations based on the legislative best practices of Los Angeles and other cities.

  • September 1, 2011    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Government Unchecked

    The False Problem of "Judicial Activism" and the Need for Judicial Engagement

    The past five decades have seen a relentless expansion in the size of government and a sharp increase in the num­ber of liberty-stifling laws and regulations at every level. Despite this explosion of political power, commentators and scholars of all ideological stripes appear to worry more about the supposed growth of judicial power. Those who…

  • June 1, 2010    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Five Years After Kelo

    The Sweeping Backlash Against One of the Supreme Court’s Most-Despised Decisions

    On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision called Kelo v. City of New London,[1] ruled that private economic development is a public use under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that governments could take people’s homes, small businesses and other property to hand over to private developers in…

  • March 6, 2010    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Bulletproofing School Choice

    How to Write Sound & Constitutional Legislation to Expand Educational Opportunity

    This paper brings together the hard-won lessons of IJ’s experiences to help advocates and lawmakers craft effective school choice legislation likely to withstand a legal challenge.

  • March 1, 2010    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Little Pink House

    A True Story of Defiance and Courage

    Before there were Tea Parties, there was Kelo. Susette Kelo’s name turned into a movement. Her loss of her property was the final straw for Americans in 2005. When they heard about the Kelo decision, homeowners and small businesses across this country refused to accept the idea that a well-connected developer could turn city hall…

  • October 1, 2009    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Building Empires, Destroying Homes

    Eminent Domain Abuse in New York

    New York is perhaps the worst state in the nation when it comes to eminent domain abuse. Government jurisdictions and agencies statewide have condemned or threatened to condemn homes and small businesses for the New York Stock Exchange, The New York Times, IKEA and Costco.

  • January 1, 2009    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    They Want to Erase Us Out

    The Faces of Eminent Domain Abuse in Texas

    This report documents how homes, farms and small businesses across Texas have been threatened by eminent domain for private gain.

  • May 1, 2008    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    The Dirty Dozen

    How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom

    Ever wonder how our nation changed from a country with a Constitution that limited government power to a land where the Constitution is interpreted to limit the rights of the citizenry? And what can be done to restore the founding vision for a free and prosperous nation? A new book called The Dirty Dozen: How…

  • March 1, 2008    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    California Scheming

    What Every Californian Should Know About Eminent Domain Abuse

    The report summarizes the legal history and areas of contention behind eminent domain for private development in California.

  • August 1, 2007    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    50 State Report Card

    Tracking Eminent Domain Reform Legislation Since Kelo

    Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s now-infamous decision in Kelo v. New London, 44 states have passed new laws aimed at curbing the abuse of eminent domain for private use.

  • January 1, 2007    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Dreher and Echeverria

    Disinformation & Errors on Eminent Domain

    In the fight to protect home and small business owners from the government’s abuse of eminent domain, it was only a matter of time until the apologists of the practice—taking property from one private individual and transferring it to another—began their counteroffensive. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous and widely despised decision in Kelo v.…

  • December 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    A False Sense of Security

    The Potential for Eminent Domain Abuse in Washington

    Washington state law is rife with opportunities for eminent domain abuse.

  • June 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Opening the Floodgates

    Eminent Domain Abuse in a Post-Kelo World

    One year after the U.S. Supreme Court case, Kelo v. New London, local governments threatened eminent domain or condemned at least 5,783 homes, businesses, churches and other properties so that they could be transferred to another private party.

  • June 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Redevelopment Wrecks

    20 Failed Projects Involving Eminent Domain Abuse

    Cities and developers tend to overhype the benefits of private development projects that use eminent domain. But many of these projects are failures.

  • June 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    The report debunks several of the most prevalent myths about eminent domain for private gain.

  • April 1, 2006    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Education has always been an issue of central concern for the people of North Carolina. Even before statehood, the area’s colonists made concerted efforts to secure the blessings of education for their children. In 1776, the authors of North Carolina’s first Constitution required the Legislature to provide publicly funded schools to encourage education in the…

  • December 1, 2005    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    A Dream Deferred

    Legal Barriers to African Hairbraiding Nationwide

    Hair braiding provides outstanding economic opportunities, but licensure requirements in many states have given mainstream cosmetologists a near monopoly.

  • September 1, 2005    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Kelo v. City of New London

    What it Means and the Need for Real Eminent Domain reform

    This white paper explains to both legislators and the general public why eminent domain reform is needed after the Kelo v. New London decision.

  • November 1, 2004    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Policing and Prosecuting for Profit

    Arizona’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws Violate Basic Due Process Protections

    In 2002, New Jersey’s Carol Thomas made headlines after her teenage son used her 1990 Ford Thunderbird to sell marijuana to an undercover police officer. He was arrested, pled guilty and faced his punishment. However, that did not end the case. The government also seized Thomas’ car, despite the fact that no drugs were found…

  • April 1, 2003    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Public Power, Private Gain

    A Five-Year, State-by-State Report Examining the Abuse of Eminent Domain

    In the first-ever report to document private-to-private takings, the Institute for Justice found more than 10,000 instances of eminent domain abuse in just a five-year-period.

  • March 1, 2002    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Government Theft

    The Top 10 Abuses of Eminent Domain

    The Institute for Justice brings together the 10 most egregious uses of eminent domain for private purposes from 1998 to 2001.

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