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Interesting "Economic Liberty" Decision:
The Institute for Justice has just posted this press release about an interesting decision in Minneapolis today about taxi cab reform. I have posted a copy of the decision here. Seems pretty clearly correct to me.
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

I agree that the city was right to liberalise the markt. I just wonder whether there isn't a reasonable expectations issue here. (I can't be bothered to check for US case law, but the UK locus classicus is Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service, House of Lords, 1984.)
10.29.2007 8:08pm
chrismn (mail):
I can't see what this case was about. Suppose the city was on the side of the cartel and wouldn't deregulate. Then an excluded cab driver would have a hard time turning this into a constitutional issue. But here the city wanted to deregulate. The existing license holders felt they had a constitutional right to the existing regulatory environment? From what? The takings clause? I suppose if I get fired from a government job, that's a taking as well. Absurd.
10.29.2007 11:07pm
jim:
I wonder if this will help settle complaints about people not being able to get a cab from the Airport if they are carrying wine.
10.29.2007 11:11pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I could see where members of an industry like that might feel that they had an enforcable economic interest in having only X cabs allowed, with them able to sell their permit at some steep price because of this ... I can't see why any attorney would agree! The government creates a sort-monopoly, then reduces the restrictions, and that's a taking of "private" property?
10.29.2007 11:22pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Dave:

I agree, though it should be noted that this is how many private property claims arise. Certainly intellectual property is state-created, but one could argue that even the value of traditional real property has everything to do with the regulatory conditions under which it subsists. Change the regulatory conditions and you have a potential takings claim.
10.29.2007 11:41pm
vepxistqaosani (mail) (www):
IANAL, but don't we all base all our economic transactions on the expectation of some consistency in the behavior of government? While I can appreciate the point that governments would be paralyzed if they had to reimburse everyone adversely affected by any government's action, it is by no means clear to me that that's a Bad Thing (which seems to be the court's premise). Rather, greater inaction on the part of government at all levels is more likely to be a Good Thing. In this case, wouldn't life had been simpler for nearly everyone -- especially taxi passengers -- if the government had never gotten into the livery business in the first place?
10.30.2007 12:45am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I agree, though it should be noted that this is how many private property claims arise. Certainly intellectual property is state-created, but one could argue that even the value of traditional real property has everything to do with the regulatory conditions under which it subsists. Change the regulatory conditions and you have a potential takings claim.
But the issue here doesn't turn on whether it's "traditional real property"; the medallion owners' claims wouldn't be any stronger if it were. You have a property interest in the use of your own property; you don't have a property interest in preventing other people from using their property. The fact that your mall will make less money because the government has zoned someone else's property to allow them to build a mall there doesn't give you a constitutional claim.
10.30.2007 7:23am
liberty (mail) (www):
vepxistqaosani,

That's an interesting point. But I'm not sure that we need that in order to prevent government from getting into the business. You are arguing that we should say that if government steals something from someone else and gives that something to us, they can't take it away (or rather, stop stealing and giving it to us) because this will help stop government getting into the business of stealing in the first place.

But we could just enforce the constitutional limitations of government, which already says that it can't steal. And in the meantime it will allow us to reform existing government so that it stops stealing.

Your way is easier because it uses monetary incentives - government doesn't want to be stuck paying out long after its politically useful, rather than technical and originalist readings of the constitution which are unpopular and difficult to explain. But my way's still better.
10.30.2007 9:00am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

@vepxistqaosani: What you're saying is pretty much the same as what I said. It's called the reasonable expectations doctrine. I'm just not sure whether exists as such in the US, as a doctrine separate from estoppel.
10.30.2007 9:34am
Temp Guest (mail):
Legal question from a non-lawyer: Might consumers in other jurisdictions use this precedent to piggy-back lawsuits against taxi medallion monopolies in their home cities, e.g., Boston?
10.30.2007 9:56am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

No, since this ruling merely said that the taxi owners have no constitutionally protected property right in their taxi licenses. It didn't say anything about the rights consumers might have, one way or another. Besides, this precedent isn't binding in other districts.

Correction to previous post: It was supposed to say "I'm just not sure whether it [the doctrine of reasonable expectations] exists in the US as such, i.e. as a doctrine separate from estoppel."
10.30.2007 10:08am
jpe (mail):

You have a property interest in the use of your own property; you don't have a property interest in preventing other people from using their property.

For intangible property? Absolutely, you have an interest in preventing people from using their stuff (they can't use their guitar to play my song, for instance).

If they paid for their medallions, and the market at the time valued those medallions as fee simple that would always be held by the owner, there's gotta be a good takings arguement there.
10.30.2007 10:55am
Eli Rabett (www):
What are the implications here for radio/TV licenses?
10.30.2007 11:36am
Richard A. (mail):
jpe:
The medallion is not the property of the cab owner. It is the property of the government.
10.30.2007 12:05pm
springjourney (mail):
What are the implication for number of physicians in U.S. That number is limited by the government and physicians themselves.
10.30.2007 1:53pm
Ben P (mail):
what?

If there are any restrictions beyond typical qualifying measures, please enlighten us.


Saying that all physicians have to pass qualification exams is quite a bit different from saying there can only be a total of 200 physicians in a city at any given time. I've got several friends and one family member in various stages of med school and post med school, and I've never heard anything about restrictions beyond the fact that most people decide being "pre-med" isn't for them after they take genetics and organic chemistry.
10.30.2007 2:54pm
springjourney (mail):

I've got several friends and one family member in various stages of med school and post med school, and I've never heard anything about restrictions beyond the fact that most people decide being "pre-med" isn't for them after they take genetics and organic chemistry

Number of medical residencies are limited. It has nothing to do with qualifications exams.
Not all who pass qualifications exams get a residency, accordingly number of doctors that enters a market is limited. Cap is established by Medical Board (private organization supported by the government).
10.30.2007 3:33pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
For intangible property? Absolutely, you have an interest in preventing people from using their stuff (they can't use their guitar to play my song, for instance).
No, that's preventing them from using your stuff, and it's hardly unique to intangible property. They can't take their guitar and throw it into your swimming pool, either.
If they paid for their medallions, and the market at the time valued those medallions as fee simple that would always be held by the owner, there's gotta be a good takings arguement there.
There would be a great takings argument... if they owned the medallions in fee simple -- which they didn't -- and if the government had taken their medallions away. But it didn't take their medallions away; it issued more medallions.
10.30.2007 7:05pm