Milwaukee Taxis

Ghaleb Ibrahim v. City Of Milwaukee
Challenging Milwaukee’s Unconstitutional Taxicab Law

Ghaleb Ibrahim taxi driver

IJ Client Ghaleb Ibrahim

Private companies cannot use governmental power to outlaw competition, yet this is what the city of Milwaukee does for its established taxi cartel.

Milwaukee allows only 321 taxicabs on its streets—almost half of which are owned by a single owner.  That is about one cab for every 1,850 residents, one of the highest ratios in the country.  This cap on taxi permits has sent permit costs skyrocketing, from $85 to $150,000—putting the dream of owning a taxi business out of most people’s reach.

Ghaleb Ibrahim is a Milwaukee entrepreneur who simply wants to own and drive his own taxicab.  He has the means to operate safe and insured taxis, but the cap on the number of cabs means his dream cannot become a reality.  For now if he wants to drive a cab he must do it for someone else at a hefty rental price.

It does not have to be that way.  Milwaukee’s taxicab cap violates Ghaleb’s right to earn a living, protected by Wisconsin’s Constitution.  That’s why on September 27, 2011, Ghaleb and two fellow drivers teamed up with the Institute for Justice to file a major civil rights lawsuit in the Milwaukee County Courthouse against the city.


Essential Background


Background on this case

Client Photo

Latest Release: Milwaukee’s Common Council Allows 100 More Taxis on City Streets (November 26, 2013)

Client Video

Video: Rally and press conference before the summary judgement hearing (April 16, 2013)

Launch Release: Milwaukee Cab Drivers Join Forces with IJ In Major Legal Challenge to City’s Unconstitutional Taxicab Law (September 26, 2011)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Compaint (Filed September 27, 2011)

Court ruling (April 16, 2013)

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


September 27, 2011

Court Filed:

Circuit Court of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin


Victory in Circuit Court!  Judge rules cap on taxicabs unconstitutional

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Court Orders Milwaukee to Cease Enforcing Cap on Taxi Cabs (May 30, 2013)

Five Things to Know

Release: Court Breaks Open Milwaukee’s Taxi Cartel (April 16, 2013) Institute for Justice City Study: Unhappy Days for Milwaukee Entrepreneurs

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Release: Cab Drivers Suspended for Free Speech (November 2, 2012) Article, Video: Court orders Milwaukee to cease enforcing cap on taxi cabs FOX 6 (May 30, 2013)
Release: State Assembly Vote Could Make Milwaukee’s Bad Taxi System Worse  Legislation Would Allow a New York City-style Medallion System (February 17, 2012)  Editorial: Lift the cap on permits Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 28, 2011)
Audio: Lawsuit Challenges Taxi Permit Cap; WUWM - Milwaukee Public Media (September 28, 2011)
Article: Cab drivers to sue Milwaukee over limit on permits Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 26, 2011)

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