Our Economic Liberty Practices

Opposing Economic Protectionism

Government power should never be used to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. Yet it frequently happens that government enacts regulations that benefit some entrepreneurs and businesses at the expense of others. PLF believes that the Constitution favors the free market economy. Courts should ensure a free marketplace and invalidate laws that favor certain groups over others.

Arty Vogt was forced to seek permission from his competitors when he expanded his moving company into West Virginia. Predictably, they found there was no need for additional competition. PLF and Arty fought this Competitor’s Veto law, which resulted in a legislative fix that allowed Arty and other moving companies to freely compete for business.

Restoring the Constitutional Right to Earn a Living

Nearly one in four Americans must get an occupational license—permission from the government—just to do their jobs. The main effect of this licensing is to insulate existing workers from competition and hurt those without the means to fight the red tape between them and the right to work in the occupation of one’s choice.

In Merrifield v. Lockyer (2008), PLF secured a win for California pest controllers when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down a licensing law because it violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of economic liberty—one of only four such federal appellate victories since the New Deal.