Research Reports

Economic Liberty | Hair Braiding

Barriers to Braiding

African-style hair braiding is a time-tested and natural craft. Yet most states force braiders to get a government license and take hundreds or even thousands of hours of classes to work legally. This study finds…

Educational Choice | Tax Credit Scholarships

On Common Constitutional Ground

Launched in 2008, Georgia’s scholarship tax credit program will help over 13,000 children get the best education for their needs at secular and religious private schools this year. But in 2014 school choice opponents sued…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Policing for Profit: Second Edition

Policing for Profit, 2nd Edition Published in 2015, this is an older edition of IJ’s landmark Policing for Profit report. You can download the report here, but please see the third and current edition for the most up-to-date…

Upwardly Mobile

Economic Liberty | Vending

Upwardly Mobile

Executive Summary As old as the country itself, American street vending has never been more prominent. It’s the subject of television shows, think pieces and—less happily—burdensome regulations in cities coast to coast. Despite vending’s popularity…

Enforcing the Constitution

Enforcing the Constitution

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…

Occupational Speech and the First Amendment

First Amendment | Occupational Speech | Tour Guides

Occupational Speech and the First Amendment

In May 2013, newspaper columnist John Rosemond received a cease-and-desist letter from the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology informing him that his syndicated column — in which he answers readers’ questions about parenting —…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Boards Behaving Badly

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…

Regulating work

This study examines the scope and burden of occupational licensing laws in the United States for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations. Findings indicate that the licences studied require of aspiring workers, on average, $US209 in…

Seize First, Question Later

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Seize First, Question Later

Thanks to federal civil forfeiture laws, the Internal Revenue Service has seized millions of dollars from thousands of Americans’ bank accounts without proof of criminal wrongdoing.

When legal is not ethical

Civil forfeiture laws in the United States facilitate, indeed encourage, unethical behavior on the part of law enforcement officials. Civil forfeiture is a mechanism by which law enforcement agencies can seize property merely with a…

Against Arbitrary Government And The Amoral Constitution

The most important debate in constitutional law today is within the conservative-libertarian movement over the proper role of courts in mediating personal freedom and government power. At one end of the spectrum are those who…

Bad Apples or Bad Law

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Bad Apples or Bad Laws?

An original experiment finds that civil forfeiture laws create a strong temptation for law enforcement to seize property to pad their own budgets.

Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Hair Braiding | Occupational Licensing | Transportation | Vending

Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

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,…

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Hair Braiding | Occupational Licensing

Untangling Regulations

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…

Economic Liberty | Vending

Street Eats, Safe Eats

Boston |Las Vegas |Los Angeles |Louisville |Miami |Seattle|Washington, D.C. Introduction America loves food trucks. These new mobile vendors are creating jobs, satisfying hunger and making downtowns cool…

The Attack on Food Freedom

Economic Liberty | Vending

The Attack on Food Freedom

Today’s bans and strict regulations ultimately limit the choices available to eaters—which include quite literally everyone—and, in the process, prevent food entrepreneurs from earning an honest living.

Judicial Engagement Means No More Make-Believe Judging

Every person who goes into court deserves a sincere, impartial judge. A substantial portion of American constitutional doctrine is devoted to ensuring they don’t get one. What civil rights plaintiffs often get instead is a…

Educational Choice

Opening the Schoolhouse Doors

Alabama’s scholarship tax credit programs follow in the footsteps of at least six similar tax credits dating to the 1970s that give students a choice of public, private or religious schools, demonstrating that scholarship tax…

Florida’s Dirty Dozen

Economic Liberty

Florida’s Dirty Dozen

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

The Balance Between Public Protection and the Right to Earn a Living

Economic Liberty

The Balance Between Public Protection and the Right to Earn a Living

One of the significant challenges facing licensing professionals is striking the most effective, efficient and just balance between regulation of occupations and preserving occupational practice free from unnecessary government restrictions. As discussed in greater detail…

Other

Terms of Engagement

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…

First Amendment | Political Speech

The Public’s Right to Know versus Compelled Speech

In this Article, we question neither the desirability of creating transparency in the ties between candidates and their contributors, nor the efficacy of disclosure regulations in affecting this end. This is despite the fact that…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing | Teeth Whitening

White Out

As the teeth-whitening industry has exploded in recent years, so too has the push for laws and regulations that enable licensed dentists and hygienists to capture a greater share of that market by banning anyone…

Rotten Reporting in the Peach State

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Rotten Reporting in the Peach State

Georgia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the nation, a problem compounded by law enforcement agencies’ routine failure to report forfeiture revenue and expenditures as required by law. But a 2011 Institute…

A Stacked Deck

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

A Stacked Deck

State data show that from 2003 to 2010, forfeiture revenue in Minnesota jumped 75 percent, even as crime rates declined, and the average value of forfeited property was only $1,000.

Arizona’s Profit Incentive in Civil Forfeiture

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Arizona’s Profit Incentive in Civil Forfeiture

Arizona’s civil forfeiture laws need to be reformed. In the upside-down world of civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize and keep cash and property that was allegedly involved in criminal activity—without ever proving a…

Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks

Economic Liberty | Vending

Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks

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.