For John, BLUF: Freedom is about economic freedom. Nothing to see here; just move along.
It is Tuesday and time to go back to work—if the State allows. At the Volokh Conspiracy Saturday was a post on economic liberties, titled "Kentucky’s War On The Little Guy…And Nevada’s…and Missouri’s…". The author was Mr Timothy Sandefur.
This is about various states and their "Certificate of Necessity" laws, where a new company is forces to obtain a license, a license to which those already in the trade can object, based on there not being a necessity for another firm. One wonders where the law of supply and demand comes into play in such cases. For existing firms to be able to bar competition sounds like a form of mercantilism. We might use the term "rent seeking".
Here is the concluding paragraph:
Remarkably, every time the Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of laws like these, it has struck them down. And the Court has made clear that the government may only restrict entry into a trade or profession if its grounds for doing so are related to a person’s “fitness or capacity to practice the profession.” But Certificate of Necessity laws have no relationship at all to a person’s fitness or qualifications. Moreover, the Sixth Circuit—which governs Kentucky—has made clear that the Constitution forbids states from using licensing laws simply to protect established businesses against legitimate economic competition. Yet Kentucky laws explicitly forbid competition, simply to prop up existing firms. And not only do Kentucky bureaucrats deprive hard-working entrepreneurs like Raleigh Bruner of their right to earn a living—but while his federal civil rights lawsuit was going forward, they tried to shut down Raleigh’s business by suing him in state court! Fortunately, the federal judge put a stop to that. Here’s hoping the courts also put a stop to the Bluegrass State’s unconstitutional favoritism.If one wishes to see how this kind of government interference can impact a geographic area and suppress the economic success of those trying to climb out of poverty one can read Economist Hernando de Soto's The Other Path. Contact me if you wish to borrow a copy.
Hat tip to the Instapundit.
Regards — Cliff