In Tennessee, you can run for governor after residing in the state for seven years, but you can’t renew your liquor license until you’ve lived there for 10 years
Arlington, Va.—Doug and Mary Ketchum moved to Memphis in 2016 with the dream of buying a business that would give them more time with their 32-year-old daughter, Stacie, who has been severely handicapped since an early age, and who doesn’t have many years left to live, according to their doctor. But, thanks to the actions…
Institute for Justice and Parents will appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
Helena, Mont.—Today, by a 5 to 2 vote, the Montana State Supreme Court reversed a lower court to declare that the state’s scholarship tax credit program is unconstitutional. This marks the first time that a state supreme court has struck down such a program. The program provides scholarships to needy families to attend the private…
Pennsylvania Cosmetology Board uses irrelevant and old criminal convictions to deny licenses after individuals invest time and money in education
PHILADELPHIA—Two Pennsylvania women denied licenses by the Pennsylvania Cosmetology Board are suing in the Commonwealth Court to end an unconstitutional requirement that stands in the way of careers in cosmetology. Courtney Haveman and Amanda Spillane, who live near Philadelphia, struggled with substance abuse, but have been sober and stayed out of trouble for years. The…
Second Circuit Allows Constitutional Claims To Be Tested
Today, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York improperly dismissed a class-action lawsuit challenging New York City’s extraction of unconstitutional settlement agreements. Through its no-fault eviction program, the NYPD threatened to evict businesses and residents when somebody—even a total stranger—committed a crime at…
Ruling solidifies victory for tour guides denied licenses
Charleston, S.C.—Judge David Norton of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina today affirmed his August 2018 decision protecting the First Amendment rights of Charleston tour guides. The city’s tour guide licensing law was challenged by three would-be tour guides—Kimberly Billups, Michael Warfield and Michael Nolan—who joined with the Institute for Justice…
Food Truck Owners Challenge One of the Most Anti-Competitive Vending Restrictions in the Country
As the owner of the Taco Trap food truck, Benny Diaz has reaped the rewards of hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit. He started out making his unique taco creations from his grandmother’s recipes at a restaurant in Port St. Lucie, Florida. From there, patrons encouraged him to start a business of his own. Benny’s…
Seattle Inspection Law Treats Tenants as Second-Class Citizens and Tramples Constitutional Right to Privacy
SEATTLE, Wa.—Today, a group of Seattle tenants and landlords partnered with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to file a class action lawsuit challenging the city’s use of invasive, warrantless searches to inspect rental units. The lawsuit, which was filed in King County Superior Court, argues that the city’s program is a clear violation of the…
The Washington Department of Licensing ordered IJ client Salamata Sylla to obtain a time-consuming and irrelevant cosmetology license for hair braiding. IJ sued on her behalf and forced the Department to adopt a rule exempting braiders.
Kevin is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
Hilda Brucker was sitting at home one day working her job as a freelance writer. The phone rang, she answered, and was told by a hostile voice that if she didn’t come down to the courthouse at once she would be given a failure to appear violation. She hastily complied. When she got there, she found out that the city had issued a citation, although it had never told her about it. She later learned the citation stated she was charged with (1) “Rotted wood on house and chipping paint on fascia boards”; (2) “High weeds in backyard and ivy on tree and vines on house”; and (3) “Driveway in a state of disrepair.” Not knowing what to do, Hilda pled guilty to the driveway charge, while the other two were dismissed. She paid a fine of $100 and was sentenced to six months probation, where she had to report to a probation officer, avoid alcoholic intoxication, and cooperate “with code enforcement upon request.” She later hired an attorney who filed a motion to vacate her sentence, but the motion was continued several times, eventually being granted only after her six-month probation would have already ended. She also obtained a home equity line of credit in case she needed to pay for any of the fixes that the city nebulously demanded.
Korver Ear Nose and Throat LLC owns a recently constructed medical facility in Orange City, Iowa. It would like to convert the lower level of this facility into an outpatient surgery center, but does not want to incur the enormous time, expense, and uncertainty of going through the certificate of need process, only to be denied because of its competitor’s opposition.
After being in prison for two years, when Amanda got out, she became passionate about cosmetology and even got a job offer at a salon before she finished school. But the state board denied her a cosmetology license, claiming she lacked “good moral character.”
Chris is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
IJ client Elmer Kilian has been preparing taxes for the past 30 years on his dining room table. He fought and successfully defended his right to earn an honest living without getting permission from the IRS.
In May 2014, Philadelphia police showed up unannounced at Markela’s home and tried to seize the home through civil forfeiture because her son had been caught selling a small amount of drugs outside the home. After a year of uncertainty, the city agreed to stop seizing people’s homes without warning and forcing people to give up their constitutional rights and kick out family members. Even better—Markela’s son was allowed back home.
Opternative is a Chicago-based internet startup that offers consumers a simple promise: Get a new prescription for glasses or contacts from the comfort of your own home. In most states, Opternative’s technology allows doctors to provide faster and better service to more people—but not in South Carolina.
Sung Cho owns and operates Super Laundromat and Drycleaners, one of the largest laundromats in Manhattan. Sung could be evicted, and his business closed, simply because his business was the site of a crime. The identity of the criminals was beside the point.
Vocatura’s Bakery was founded in 1919, almost one hundred years ago, and has been owned and operated by three generations of the Vocatura family. Claiming the owners violated so-called “structuring” laws by depositing cash in the bakery’s bank account in amounts less than $10,000, the IRS seized more than $68,000 from the family.
Susette is the Kelo in Kelo v. New London. She led her neighbors in a seven-year battle to save their homes from being taken by the government for private development, culminating in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005.
Martha is a stay-at-home mom with two sons, a 5-year old and a 2-year old. She has baked her whole life and is professionally trained. Martha is Brazilian and lived in Brazil for 25 years, and she would like to start a home business focusing on Brazilian-inspired cookies.
Lisa is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
Next Chapter Winery is a family-run winery in New Prague, Minnesota built by Timothy and Therese Tulloch. To grow Next Chapter’s business, they would like to offer more varieties of wine, which would require using more grapes from other regions.
Heather is a single mother of a 14-year-old son. After bringing in baked goods to her son’s school for fundraisers and to his football team, Heather started getting many requests to sell them. But then Heather learned that selling her goods from home was illegal. Heather wants very much to be able to resume selling her delicious goods so she can use the money to support her son.
Florence and Derrick would like their children to attend a Catholic high school in Aurora, Colo. But paying tuition for both children to attend Regis would be a substantial financial burden, so scholarships by Douglas County’s school choice program would help defray costs.
When John tried to expand his cab business to Bowling Green, he was stymied by a city law that limited the number of taxis allowed in the city to only 16. Less than two months after he filed a lawsuit, Bowling Green repealed the cap.
Valarie has received a set of warnings from Pagedale, threatening her with fines and fees for alleged violations. She was even arrested in front of her home and taken to Pagedale city hall because of an unspecified ticket.
For decades, Isis Brantley has fought for her right to braid hair and to pass on her knowledge to others. She successfully sued the state of Texas after it attempted to force her to turn her braiding school into a barber college.
Dale Sorcher has cared for infants and toddlers at a Jewish day care on and off since 1996 and holds two masters degrees, one in social work and one in expressive therapy. Unfortunately, under a new regulation in the District of Columbia, her experience does not qualify her to keep her job.
Alan and Judy Gillis live in Orrington, Maine and send their youngest daughter, Isabella, currently a junior to Bangor Christian Schools. But because Alan and Judy have chosen a religious school for their daughter, Maine prohibits the town from paying Isabella’s tuition to Bangor Christian Schools.
Khalid (“Ken”) Quran moved to America in 1997, and now runs a convenience store in Greenville, N.C. But the government seized his entire bank account—more than $150,000—even though he was never charged with a crime.
Norys Hernandez co-owns a home in North Philadelphia with her sister, who resides there. Norys has never been in trouble with the law. But her home was seized after her nephew was caught selling a small amount of drugs outside the home.