IJ's Freedom Flix show

IJ's Freedom Flix

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  • Artist: The Institute for Justice
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 Little American Dream Factory: Chicago Bureaucrats Put the Brakes on an Innovative Business | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 5:03

The story of Zina Murray, her innovative business, and how Chicago killed it leaving fifteen entrepreneurs without a home. Local and state governments should not impose barriers on new job creation by small business entrepreneurs through superfluous and anticompetitive business licensing. Learn more by reading Beth Kregor's report Space to Work: Opening Job Opportunities by Reducing Regulation part of the Big Ideas for Jobs project. http://iam.ij.org/INwb1Q

 Half-baked: Gov't Restricts Homemade Cookie Sales | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:54

Can the government arbitrarily restrict where home-baking entrepreneurs can sell their treats or how much they can sell? According to a new lawsuit from the Institute for Justice and two Minnesota home bakers and filed in Minnesota Second Judicial District, the answer is no. Minnesota bans home bakers from selling home baked foods like cakes, cookies and breads—foods the state has deemed safe—anywhere other than a farmers' market or community event. Worse, the state prohibits home bakers from making more than $5,000 annually—an average of only $96 per week. Violating these restrictions can lead to fines of up to $7,500 or up to 90 days in jail.

 Advertise Your Legal Product. Get Thrown in Jail | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:34

In Oregon, it is perfectly legal for farmers to sell raw—or unpasteurized—milk...so long as they don't talk about it. If they do, they face huge fines and jail time. But a major federal lawsuit filed this morning by the Institute for Justice (IJ), the national law firm for liberty, and Christine Anderson, owner of Cast Iron Farm in McMinnville, Ore., seeks to change that. Oregon flatly bans the advertisement of raw milk, a perfectly legal product for farmers like Christine to sell. That means Christine and other farmers are prohibited from posting flyers at local stores, advertising sales online or via email, or even having a roadside sign at the farm saying "WE SELL RAW MILK." If Christine does advertise that she sells raw milk, she faces a fine of $6,250 and civil penalties as high as $10,000—plus a year in jail.

 City Forces Homeowners to Destroy Veggie Garden | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 0:52

May the government prohibit you from peacefully and productively using your own property to feed your family? That is the question the Institute for Justice (IJ) and a Miami Shores couple have taken to state court in their challenge to Miami Shores' unconstitutional ban on front-yard vegetable gardens. The law prohibits homeowners from growing vegetables in their front yards, but trees, fruit, and garden gnomes are just fine. Homeowners who grow front-yard vegetable gardens face fines of $50 per day.

 Terms of Engagement: More Constitution Less Government | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:38

Buy Terms of Engagement on Amazon now. The Constitution was designed to limit government power and protect individuals from the tyranny of majorities and interest-group politics. But those protections are meaningless without judges who are fully committed to enforcing them, and America's judges have largely abdicated that responsibility. All too often, instead of judging the constitutionality of government action, courts simply rationalize it, as the Supreme Court did in upholding the Affordable Care Act, which represented the largest—and most blatantly unconstitutional—expansion of federal power since the New Deal. The problem lies not with the Constitution, but with courts' failure to properly enforce it. From the abandonment of federalism to open disregard for property rights and economic freedom, the Supreme Court consistently protects government prerogatives at the expense of liberty. The source of this error lies in the mistaken belief on both the left and the right that the leading constitutional value is majority rule and the chief judicial virtue is reflexive deference to other branches of government. This has resulted in a system where courts actually judge the constitutionality of government action in the handful of cases they happen to care about, while merely pretending to judge in others. The result has been judicial abdication, removing courts from their essential role in the system of checks and balances so carefully crafted by our Founders. This book argues that principled judicial engagement—real judging in all cases with no exceptions—provides the path back to constitutionally limited government.

 Handcuffed hairbraider sues in federal court for right to teach | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:41

Braiders Aren't Barbers: African Hairbraider Takes Texas to Federal Court Over Economic Liberty. Isis Brantley is a widely recognized expert on African hairbraiding who wants to teach people to braid hair for a living in Dallas. But even with her decades of experience, Texas is telling Isis she must now convert her modest hairbraiding school into a large barber college, and become a state-licensed barber instructor, before she can teach the next generation of African hairbraiders. When the state of Texas began regulating hairbraiders in 2007, it wedged Texas's hairbraiding license into the state's barbering statute. This means that Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn't need, all to teach a 35-hour hairbraiding curriculum. Tellingly, Texas will waive all these regulations if Isis goes to work for an existing barber school and teaches hairbraiding for them. But braiders aren't barbers, and braiding instructors shouldn't be forced to build barber schools or take classes from barbers. That is why on October 1, 2013, Isis joined with the Institute for Justice to file a federal lawsuit against Texas. A victory in her case could impact entrepreneurs throughout the state and beyond. http://www.ij.org/texasbraiding

 Gov't Forces Businesses to Overcharge Customers | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:45

Consumers and entrepreneurs—not the government—should decide how much a ride from a car service should cost. Consumers need the government protecting them from affordable prices as much as they need a government agency protecting them from pillows that are too soft. Government-imposed minimum-fare rules don't help consumers. All they do is increase costs, stifle innovation and protect industry insiders from competition—hardly a wise or constitutional use of government power. Tampa is one of only a handful of places where a minimum fare law like this is imposed, in this case by the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission: Most jurisdictions recognize that consumers don't need the government's protection from low prices. It is unconstitutional for Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission to harm consumers by forcing them to be overcharged. It is also unconstitutional for this county agency to harm small business owners by preventing them from growing their businesses and creating jobs by offering better values to their customers. http://www.ij.org/TampaFares

 Sacramento's Sign Police vs. The First Amendment and Got Muscle Health Club | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:14

Businesses need to advertise to survive. For small businesses, signs are their most effective and least expensive option. The city of Sacramento, Calif. is threatening the owners of a small independent gym with fines of up to $1000 a day simply for using a sandwich board to advertise their business. Without their sandwich board, the Fears have already lost countless customers. So the Fears and the Institute for Justice are fighting to protect their gym and the First Amendment right of every business to communicate with the public.

 Newspaper Censorship in America: Is this Celebrated Advice Columnist a Criminal? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:53

In May 2013, John Rosemond—America's longest running newspaper columnist—received an astonishing order from the Kentucky attorney general: Stop publishing your advice column in the Bluegrass State or face fines and jail. The attorney general and Kentucky's psychologist licensing board believe that John's column, which is syndicated in more than 200 papers nationwide, constitutes the "unlicensed practice of psychology" in Kentucky when it appears in a Kentucky newspaper. Kentucky's crackdown is part of a national surge in the abuse of occupational licensing laws to censor advice. On July 17, 2013, John joined the Institute for Justice to fight back in federal court. His First Amendment lawsuit defends freedom of speech and freedom of the press from government officials who believe that it can be a crime in America to express an opinion in the newspaper. John's challenge addresses one of the most important unsettled questions in First Amendment law: Can the government use occupational licensing laws to trump free speech? http://www.ij.org/kypsychspeech

 Gov't Bully to Citizen Activists: Lie or Face Crippling Fines | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:52

Washington's Public Disclosure Commission, which works to shut down political debate, is now seeking to drastically restrict free civil rights advocacy—advocacy that has guided our nation to live up to its ideals of freedom and justice. A first-of-its-kind legal battle over the agency's actions is now raging in Washington state and will answer important questions about the limits of government power, the right of free speech and political participation, and the ability of civil rights advocates to represent their clients against a government agency when that agency is violating constitutionally enshrined rights. http://www.ij.org/IJvsPDC

 FOOD FIGHT IN WASHINGTON: Let's Save DC Food Trucks | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:58

D.C. is one of the best food-truck cities in the country. That's something city officials should be proud of. But unfortunately, city leaders are considering new restrictions on food trucks that could be used to ban them from serving their customers in many parts of the city. If passed, these restrictions would make D.C. one of the worst cities for food trucks. In addition to reducing options for customers, these restrictions could force many food trucks to lay off employees, relocate to other cities with better laws, or go out of business altogether. Let's work together to Save DC Food Trucks!

 Puppies & Kittens & Censors...Oh my! Government Muzzles Internet Pet Vet | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:30

Can the government silence and shut down licensed professionals for giving advice online?  This Institute for Justice lawsuit involves free speech and Internet freedom while centering on one of the most important unresolved issues in First Amendment law: When does occupational licensing trump the First Amendment?  The outcome will have widespread implications for medicine, law, psychology, investment advice, and many other occupations that often involve nothing but speech in the form of advice. The facts make it an ideal lawsuit for eventual consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Dr. Ron Hines is a highly regarded licensed veterinarian who's never had any complaints against him. Being a disabled and retired senior citizen, the Internet allows him to remain productive in his golden years. Yet he's been fined and shut down for giving advice on the Internet, often for free, to people around the planet who have no other access to veterinary care for their animals.  http://www.ij.org/TXVetSpeech

 Epic Public Interest Boot Camp, a Weekend for Law Students | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:57

Apply for the 2013 Law Student Conference; July 26 - 28th, 2013, Washington, D.C. Application deadline: April 1, 2013. http://iam.ij.org/107udgV IJ's law student conference is like boot camp for future freedom fighters. You'll learn cutting edge constitutional theory, how to sue bureaucrats and winning in the court of public opinion. Past participants have filed their own lawsuits taken on big government and help make America a little more free.

 A Deadline Looms for Your Tax Preparer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2:00

As part of a sweeping new licensing scheme, the IRS won't let tax preparers continue to prepare your tax returns in 2013 unless they first get a special permission slip from the government by paying for and completing 15 hours of continuing education by the end of this year. They will also have to pass an IRS-mandated exam by the end of next year. These new regulations threaten the livelihoods of as many as 350,000 tax return preparers, many of them independent mom-and-pop businesses, and could waste up to 5 million man hours. But the IRS says it will not extend the deadline.

 Game of T̶h̶r̶o̶n̶e̶s̶ [Food Trucks]: Chicago's Mobile Vendors in an Epic Food Fight | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3:59

Should the city of Chicago be in the business of protecting a few politically connected restaurateurs from competition? That is the question to be answered by a major lawsuit filed Wednesday, November 14, 2012, in Cook County Circuit Court by the Institute for Justice (IJ)—a national public interest law firm—and three Chicago-area food truck entrepreneurs. Cities nationwide are experiencing the benefits of food trucks. But for years Chicago had not embraced that movement. For example, Chicago did not allow cooking on food trucks and it told food truck entrepreneurs that they must stay more than 200 feet from brick-and-mortar restaurants. So in June 2012, when the city announced it would be revising its vending laws, food fans were excited. The law that passed in July, however, continues to make it illegal for food trucks to operate within 200 feet of any fixed business that serves food. The fines for violating the 200-foot rule are up to $2,000—ten times higher than for parking in front of a fire hydrant. Further, the city is forcing food trucks to install GPS tracking devices that broadcast the trucks' every move. According to the Chicago Tribune, "the ordinance doesn't serve the needs of the lunch-seeking public. It benefits the brick-and-mortar eateries, whose owners don't want the competition." The Institute for Justice is the nation's leading legal advocate for the rights of entrepreneurs. For more on the lawsuit, visit www.ij.org/vending.


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