ON-Lion Letter
In late May, Judge Jane Carroll of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court issued an injunction preventing Milwaukee officials from denying taxicab permits to qualified drivers.  While the judge stayed the ruling to allow the city to appeal, the effect of the injunction is to reaffirm the court's April ruling that the city's law capping the number of taxi permits violated the economic liberty of taxi drivers protected under the Wisconsin Constitution.  The law, implemented by the city in 1991, caused the price of a taxi permit to rise from $85 to over $150,000. 

"Judge Carroll made it clear that the city's 20-year taxi monopoly is over," according to Institute for Justice (IJ) attorney Anthony Sanders.  IJ filed suit against the city in 2011 on behalf of three local taxi drivers.  "The court understands that the city purposefully created an unconstitutional taxi system where only the privileged few would benefit and competition would be outlawed.  Thankfully, those days are over."

In April, Carroll found that both of the arguments the city provided for the law were illegitimate.  The city argued that officials did not want to hold an annual meeting on the issue of taxicabs, but Carroll ruled that public servants cannot write laws that simply save themselves from the trouble of going to a meeting. 

The city also argued that limited competition would make taxi owners more professional.  Carroll rejected that argument as well, saying that all the city did was provide a windfall for those who happened to have cabs in 1991.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports IJ.
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