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Liberty & Law

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Big Apple Raises Revenue by Leveling Property Owners

What does the Empire State Building have in common with a rooftop pigeon coop in Queens? Both are overseen by New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB)—and subject to the department’s nightmarishly complex regulatory system and unconstitutional enforcement processes. The DOB uses its code enforcement power to raise revenue, stacking fine after fine on property…

The Case for Abolishing Civil Forfeiture Has Never Been Stronger—or More Urgent

In 2015, New Mexico adopted landmark reforms abolishing civil forfeiture and ending the perverse profit incentive that rewarded law enforcement for engaging in the practice. Police and prosecutors bemoaned the new law, which was based on IJ’s model for comprehensive forfeiture reform, as a gift to criminal organizations. They predicted a tidal wave of crime.…

IJ’s Civil Forfeiture Work Seizes the Spotlight—and Secures Change

The day before IJ published the third edition of Policing for Profit, highly regarded investigative journalism outlet ProPublica previewed our findings in an exclusive story headlined “Police Say Seizing Property Without Trial Helps Keep Crime Down. A New Study Shows They’re Wrong.” Ten years ago, this type of high-profile news coverage of the once obscure…

IJ Soars In to Fight Outrageous Fines and Fees in Eagle, Wisconsin

Erica and Zach Mallory purchased property in Eagle, Wisconsin, to establish Mallory Meadows in 2016. They hoped the family farm would one day enable them to retire from their day jobs. Unfortunately, their dream of idyllic rural living turned into a nightmare when they found themselves in the crosshairs of the town’s code enforcement scheme. …

Long-Awaited Victory for Virtual Veterinarian

IJ victories require perseverance. We must overcome bad precedent, entrenched opposition, and, sometimes, losses in court. When we lose, our perseverance may take the form of a media blitz to shame our adversaries into reform or a legislative push to repeal a bad law. It might also mean heading back to court for a rematch.…

Giving Smarter With Your IRA

Many of us have had the satisfaction of watching the money in our IRAs grow, tax free, for years. But the day inevitably arrives when Uncle Sam knocks at the door with an outstretched palm. At age 72, you are subject to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)—forced withdrawals meant to subject your IRA funds to taxation.…

License to Zoom? As Therapy Moves Online, IJ Fights for the Right to Talk Across State Lines

Like many people, Elizabeth Brokamp moved her job online when the pandemic began. She is a professional counselor—meaning she uses talk therapy to help people feel better—and online teletherapy has allowed her to continue helping people during a difficult time.  But by making use of new technology to continue her work, Elizabeth ran into a…

Victory for Food Trucks in South Texas

Operating a small business is challenging enough these days without the government picking winners and losers. But that’s exactly what city officials did to food truck owners hoping to earn a living in South Padre Island, Texas. This past December, IJ ended that blatant protectionism.  Until 2016, this Texas tourist destination in the Rio Grande…

Windy City Entrepreneurs Aim for the Sky in South Side Pitch Competition

With challenges come opportunities. This was the mantra of the 2020 South Side Pitch competition, the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship’s annual Shark Tank-style event.  In the past, the event has given South Side startups a chance to compete for prizes to help launch their businesses. But with so many existing businesses struggling this year, the…

Shelter in Place — If Zoning Officials Let You

Imagine that you have a piece of property that you want to use. But first you need to get a permit from the town. You check off each code requirement, pull together your application with a professional site plan, and set off for a hearing. But there’s one last thing you didn’t account for: bureaucrats…

IJ Makes Headlines Feature Text

IJ Makes Headlines

These articles and editorials are just a sample of favorable local and national pieces IJ secured in the weeks prior to the release of the February issue of Liberty & Law. By getting our message out in print, radio, broadcast, and online media, we show the real-world consequences of government restrictions on individual liberty—and make…

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