Challenging Denver's Taxicab Monopoly

Basic Facts About the Case

Jones et al., v. Temmer et al., District Court case no. 93-B-235, US Court of Appeals case no. 93-1331

The Institute represented four minority entrepreneurs who sought to start their own taxicab business in Denver. Like every applicant before them for the previous fifty years, their application was denied by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. A three cab taxi oligopoly was kept firmly entrenched by laws and regulations that effectively denied entry to all who sought to serve Denver with better taxicab service.

The Institute represented these entrepreneurs along with Reverend Oscar Tillman, Legal Redress Chairman of the Denver NAACP, in a lawsuit challenging the application of these laws and regulations. On August 11, 1993, the Judge ruled in favor of the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and against the Institute for Justice. The Institute appealed to the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

While the case was pending before the Tenth Circuit, the Institute and its clients testified before the Colorado state legislature in favor of opening up the Denver taxicab monopoly. As a result of these efforts and media coverage of the lawsuit, the Colorado state legislature enacted a law on June 2, 1994, for the first time allowed new entrants into the Denver taxicab market. On August 1, 1995, our clients launched Freedom Cabs, which currently employs nearly 100 individuals, and provides improved taxicab service in the Denver market.

This case is part of the Institute's campaign to restore full constitutional protection to economic liberty, the right of individuals to earn an honest living without arbitrary government interference.


LITIGATION BACKGROUNDER

Introduction

On January 28, 1993, the Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of four entrepreneurs challenging the constitutionality of the Denver taxicab oligopoly. The three-company oligopoly is maintained by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the state legislature. Their regulatory regime creates an insurmountable barrier to entry into the Denver taxicab market. Since 1947, every application to operate a new taxicab business has been denied.

As a result, countless qualified individuals have been denied the right to earn a living in a business ideally suited to entry-level entrepreneurs. And the general public, especially in low-income, minority communities, suffers from inadequate, unreliable, and costly taxicab service.

The ramifications of this lawsuit extend far beyond Denver and the parties involved. Taxicabs are heavily regulated in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York, Miami, Buffalo, Houston, and San Francisco, and market entry is tightly restricted. Taxicab regulations often far exceed legitimate safety concerns, and instead are designed to protect existing companies from competition. The barriers to entry are entrenched and long standing. A 1974 study by the United States Department of Transportation found that regulations restricting entry of new cabs and preventing discounting of fares cost consumers nearly $800 million annually. Moreover, removal of these restrictions would create 38,000 new jobs in the taxi industry. (1)

The situation remains just as bad today. These new jobs and business opportunities would offer vital hope for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. As The New York Times recently noted, taxidriving has for generations been recognized as a "poor man's gateway to mainstream America." (2) The current regulatory scheme in Denver benefits only the three existing companies, their lobbyists, and their lawyers.

This lawsuit is part of a comprehensive effort to restore judicial protection for "economic liberty" -- the basic civil right of every American to pursue a business or profession free from arbitrary or excessive government regulation. Economic liberty is an essential part of our nation's promise of opportunity.

The Quest For Economic Liberty

Following the Civil War, southern governments acted quickly to suppress economic opportunities for newly emancipated slaves by heavily regulating entry into trades and businesses. The national government, acting first through the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and then through the Fourteenth Amendment, sought to protect economic liberty among the "privileges or immunities of citizenship." (3)

But in the 1872 Slaughter-House Cases (4), the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote essentially read the privileges or immunities clause out of the Constitution. Since that time, states have regulated with impunity entry into trades and professions, often for reasons unrelated to public health or safety, such as social discrimination and protection of professional cartels.

Recently, courts have acted to restore some judicial protection for economic liberty under the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Brown v. Barry (5), for instance, a federal court in 1989 struck down Washington, D.C.'s Jim Crow-era ban on streetcorner shoeshine stands.

The Institute for Justice challenges arbitrary regulatory barriers on behalf of people who are currently outside the economic mainstream. Earlier this month, the District of Columbia City Council deregulated entry into the cosmetology profession in response to an Institute for Justice lawsuit on behalf of African-American hairbraiders. The Institute's efforts are designed to restore protection for economic liberty as a fundamental civil right.

History And Scope Of Taxicab Regulation

Horse-drawn cabs served American cities without significant regulation through the 19th century. The first motorized taxi-cabs appeared in America in 1897, when the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company placed 12 electric taxicabs in service in New York City. In 1907, New York witnessed the introduction of 65 gasoline-powered automobiles equipped with taximeters. Within a year, internal combustion-driven taxis eclipsed all other forms of taxicabs.

The birth of the modern taxicab in the United States occurred without restrictions on the free market; still, those restrictions were not long in coming. Some believe today's heavy regulation of the industry in the United States was a response to "ruinous competition" that harmed the public during the Great Depression. To the contrary, close historical analysis indicates that, not only was there no "ruinous competition," but the majority of taxicab regulations were already in place in the late 1920s. (6) During the 1930s car prices and wages fell, bringing large numbers of drivers into the industry. The Federal Trade Commission found that:

Entry restrictions did not even pretend to protect the "public interest," and were often couched in explicitly anti-competitive terms. Improved safety or reduced congestion and pollution were occasionally given as reasons, but only as after-the-fact rationalizations. In reality, regulators wanted to "`drive many cut-throat cabs, operating without authority, from the streets' and . . . enable the organized cab fleets and transit companies to increase their profits." (8)

There has been little change in the way taxicabs are regulated since the wave of restrictions of the 1930s. For example, with the 1937 Haas Act, New York issued 13,566 taxicab medallions (licenses required to operate a taxicab). Today, there are only 11,800 medallions in the city. (9) Existing medallions can be sold to new operators, but at a price of $140,000 apiece; most aspiring entrepreneurs lack resources to enter the profession. Similar artificially high costs of entry exist in the majority of U.S. cities. Over the years, the taxicab industry in heavily-regulated cities (like Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Buffalo, Albany, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco) has stagnated. Poor quality, high fares, and long waiting times are now the standard in many cities where taxicab giants have taken control of the market with the aid of regulation. Chicago and Los Angeles, where regulations forbid new taxicab services, illustrate this clearly; in both cities, powerful monopolies have bought out the competition and raised taxicab fares, while new competition cannot enter the market. (10)

While some cities prohibit outright new entrants to the taxicab market, others achieve the same results while preserving the facade of open entry. Many cities like Denver and Philadelphia condition entry on a showing of "public convenience and necessity," a standard in practice almost impossible to satisfy. A 1983 survey of 103 cities with populations of 50,000 or more found that 87 percent restricted entry in some manner:

While safety and insurance requirements are valid, there is no reasonable basis for restricted entry. A 1984 study of taxicab regulations by the Federal Trade Commission concluded that "there is no persuasive economic rationale" for most regulations, stating "restrictions on entry, minimum fare controls, and restrictions on ride-sharing . . . reduce rather than increase efficiency." (12) Economists, left and right, agree virtually unanimously and state that consumers are big losers (second only to would-be cab owners); they pay higher fares, wait longer for a cab, and get worse service than they would with competition. (13)

Poor, minority, and elderly consumers are hit especially hard by these regulations. (14) Members of these groups are less likely to own cars and are more likely to live in areas that are served poorly, if at all, by taxicabs and other forms of public transit. A study commissioned by the Urban Mass Transit Administration determined that by every measure, low-income individuals "rely more heavily on taxicabs than do higher income individuals."(15) As another study concluded:

As Dr. Walter Williams remarks, "The[se] laws are not discriminatory in the sense that they are aimed specifically at blacks. But they are discriminatory in the sense that they deny full opportunity for the most disadvantaged Americans, among whom blacks are disproportionately represented." (17)

Taxicab Regulation In Denver

As common carriers, taxicabs were placed under the regulatory authority of the newly-created Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 1913. By 1935, the PUC controlled entry into the taxicab market and regulated the fares that taxis could charge. Every taxicab company was required to have a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the PUC. Each certificate specified how many taxicabs each company could operate.

To obtain a certificate, an applicant must demonstrate both that adequate service is not being provided and that the existing companies cannot provide adequate service. The applicant must meet a virtually impossible legal standard by demonstrating "substantial inadequacy" of service. There are no objective criteria by which a new applicant can determine what must be done to demonstrate inadequacy of service. Even if an applicant demonstrates substantially inadequate service, existing companies can easily refute this by declaring their ability to provide additional service and asserting that the new company would duplicate service already being provided. Existing companies hire teams of lawyers to contest applications from new entrants. With such an impossible barrier to surmount, it is not surprising that no new taxicab company has been allowed to start in Denver since 1947.(18) Meanwhile, virtually all other forms of transportation in Colorado, including luxury limousines; off-road scenic tours; charter buses; couriers; trash haulers; transporters of sand, dirt, gravel, or road surface material; freight haulers; and household goods movers do not have such barriers to entry.

The taxicab market in Denver consists of three companies: Yellow Cab, Zone Taxi, and Metro Taxi. All three of these firms have origins in the 1930s. While they may be rivals in the market, they all band together to keep new taxicab companies out of Denver. In the recent hearing on Quick Pick Cabs' application, Yellow Cab and Zone Taxi were even represented before the PUC by the same lawyer.

In 1951, Yellow Cab took over Rocky Mountain Transportation and the Publix Cab Company and began operations with a fleet of 75 taxicabs. (19) It remained locally owned until 1976, when a partnership of Texas businessmen purchased the company. When the Texans decided to sell the company in 1979, the union took control of the troubled firm.(20) However, the change in ownership was not enough to make Yellow Cab successful. In 1983, the company was riding high with gross revenues of $17 million, (21) but by 1986, its revenues had fallen to $6.4 million with an operating loss of $2,545 and outstanding debts totaling $800,000 (of which $500,000 were past due).(22) Revenues continued to fall in 1987, dropping to $6 million while the net loss rose to $166,000.(23) As the Denver Post reported in 1987, Yellow Cab executives blamed the economy for their woes, but a veteran Yellow Cab driver blamed the company for the troubles: company committees "spend too much time smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and arguing. There's too much overhead and they don't get enough work done."(24) By 1988, Yellow Cab was on the auction block again, but this time with no takers. High debts and low revenues finally forced the company into receivership in May 1991, where it remains today.

Metro Taxi Inc. began as the brainchild of five executives of East Coast taxicab firms; finding Denver a prime site for their innovative marketing techniques, they purchased Ritz Cab from its local owner. Ritz was founded in 1932; by 1985 (the year of its sale) it had a tiny fleet of only 32 taxicabs. However, the new owners of Metro had much bigger plans for the small firm: within a year, they had increased their taxicab fleet five-fold. Coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign, they began to capture a large share of the Denver taxicab market. (25)

A taxicab company's fleet can only be expanded with the permission of the PUC; how could a newcomer like Metro accomplish this nearly impossible task? According to Yellow Cab attorney Isaac Kaiser, the company "cut a deal" on fleet size with Yellow and Zone.(26) Each company agreed not to oppose applications for more taxicab permits by Zone and Metro; as a result, Zone increased its fleet from 75 taxicabs to 150, and Metro from 32 to 150 taxicabs. (27) Yellow Cab, meanwhile, has authorization for 600 taxicabs.

This is not the end of the story. At the same time Metro was buying out Ritz Cab, the PUC received two applications for new taxicab companies: one from Yellow Cab drivers that wanted to form a new company, and another from the owners of taxicab companies in Houston and Austin, Texas. Colorado State Senator Joe Winkler suggests that the newly-created Metro colluded with Zone and Yellow Cab to keep the new companies from obtaining a license by agreeing to raise the number of taxicabs that each could operate, thus eliminating demand for a fourth company. Although the Texans protested the expansion of service by Zone and Metro (because it would hurt their chances of proving a need for their service), the PUC ruled that only current holders of permits could protest applications, and the expansion of the fleets was approved. Meanwhile, both applications to form new taxicab companies were rejected after the three existing companies filed protests against them.(28)

As a result, the Denver taxicab market today is an oligopoly, even as the three existing firms demonstrate inefficient management and poor service to low-income neighborhoods. And a potential avenue for legitimate entrepreneurial opportunity is completely and unnecessarily extinguished.

The Current Controversy

The Institute for Justice is representing four experienced drivers who grew frustrated with the inefficient management and increasingly onerous leasing requirements of the taxicab company. Leroy Jones is representative of the drivers wishing to start their own business. Jones drove a Yellow Cab for two years, but left after disputes with the company over its treatment of drivers. He now earns his living as a traveling salesman, but no longer has the income or the flexibility of hours he enjoyed as a successful taxicab driver. An aspiring entrepreneur, Jones has formed a taxicab company that will provide a work environment that respects drivers, encourage driver participation and ownership, and provide taxicab service to all areas of Denver. Jones has joined forces with three other entrepreneurs and experienced taxicab drivers, Ani Ebong, Rowland Nwankwo, and Girma Molalegne, to form Quick Pick Cabs, Inc.

Quick Pick Cabs applied to the PUC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity in summer 1992. Yellow Cab and Zone Taxi, along with 10 other transportation companies all protested the application.

As earlier described, current PUC rules give tremendous advantage to the existing companies anytime a potential competitor applies. The applicant must meet a virtually impossible legal standard by demonstrating substantial inadequacy of service. But equally insurmountable are the procedures allowing well-heeled opponents to dramatically raise the application costs through burdensome requests for information from the applicants. In typical fashion, the protesting companies served Quick Pick Cabs with enormously complex and demanding interrogatories soliciting information about everything from Quick Pick Cabs' five-year advertising plan to the names of over 100 individuals currently driving a taxicab for one of the three companies who had agreed to work for Quick Pick Cabs. On November 24, 1992, Quick Pick Cabs' application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity was summarily denied.

The inequities and the inefficiencies of the regulated taxicab monopoly aroused even the PUC to urge reform. In June, 1992, the PUC advocated easing entry and regulation through legislation placing taxicabs under the doctrine of regulated competition. Under this less onerous doctrine, they would still be regulated for safety and insurance, but applicants would have to show only that their entry would serve the public interest. Senate Bill 9318 was recently introduced in the Colorado legislature to achieve this reform, but similar efforts in the past have been soundly defeated by lobbyists for the taxicab companies.

The PUC regulatory regime that governs entry into the Denver taxicab business prevents Mr. Jones and his colleagues from pursuing their chosen profession. This de facto ban on new companies regulation bears no relation to protection of public health, safety, or welfare. All such legitimate public interests could be served by regulations far less sweeping. In addition, no rational basis exists to regulate taxicabs in a manner that unnecessarily destroys entry-level entrepreneurial opportunities, while permitting regulated entry of newcomers in other transportation businesses. As a result, the regulatory regime deprives these aspiring entrepreneurs of the opportunity, protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to pursue a trade or business.

Although decisions of the PUC have been litigated in state court before, this lawsuit is the first to challenge the constitutionality of the PUC-created taxicab monopoly and the regulatory regime that perpetuates it.

Conclusion

The personal impact of the de facto ban on new taxicab businesses on the lives of Leroy Jones, Ani Ebong, Rowland Nwankwo, and Girma Molalegne is devastating. It impairs their ability to earn a good living for themselves and for their families. It limits the opportunity to develop their considerable skills and to work for themselves, instead of others. It destroys their dream of a brighter future. These aspiring entrepreneurs realize there is no guarantee of success in a competitive economy, but it was only upon encountering this ban that they realized that they would not even have a chance to compete. Until the state's oppressive ban is removed, they will be denied one of the most basic civil rights . . . the right to earn an honest living.

The Institute for Justice advances a rule of law under which individuals control their destinies as free and responsible members of society. Through strategic litigation, training, and outreach, the Institute secures greater protection for individual liberty, challenges the scope and ideology of the Regulatory Welfare State, and illustrates and extends the benefits of freedom to those whose full enjoyment of liberty is denied by government.

Prepared by John E. Kramer


(1) Figures from A. Webster, E. Weiner, and J. Wells, "The Role of the Taxicab in Urban Transportation," U.S. Department of Transportation, December 1974. Dollar figure converted to 1992 dollars using the Implicit Price Deflator for the second quarter of 1992 as supplied by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

(2) The New York Times, December 6, 1992, p. 49. (3) Clint Bolick, Unfinished Business, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990, Part II.

(4) Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1872).

(5) Brown v. Barry, 710 F. Supp. 352 (D.D.C 1989).

(6) Gorman Gilbert and Robert E. Samuels, The Taxicab: An Urban Transportation Survivor, The University of North Carolina Press, 1982, p. 149.

(7) Mark W. Frankena and Paul A. Pautler, An Economic Analysis of Taxicab Regulation, Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Economics Staff Report, May 1984, p. 75.

(8) Id. at 79.

(9) Id. at 76-77. In fact, New York first attempted to limit the number of taxicabs in 1932 "under the sponsorship of Mayor Jimmy Walker, but when Walker was forced to resign when it was discovered that he had been bribed by one of the taxi companies, the attempt failed." Gilbert and Samuels, p. 70.

(10) Ross D. Eckert, "The Los Angeles Taxi Monopoly: An Economic Inquiry," 43 Southern California Law Review, 1970, pp. 422-424; also E.W. Kitch, M. Isaacson and D. Kasper, "The Regulation of Taxicabs in Chicago," 14 Journal of Law and Economics, October 1971, pp. 285-350.

(11) Frankena and Pautler, p. 16, citing study by Shaw, et al., Taxicab Regulation in U.S. Cities, U.S. Department of Transportation, Report No. UMTA-NC-11-0011, October 1983, pp. 29-32.

(12) Id. at 65, 155.

(13) See Frankena and Pautler; Ross D. Eckert; A. Webster, et al.; David J. Williams, "Information and Price Determination in Taxi Markets," Quarterly Review of Economics and Business 20(4), Winter 1980, pp. 36-43; and testimony of FTC economists William C. Macleod, Richard O. Zerbe, and John M. Peterson before Chicago and Seattle City Councils, 1984.

(14) Clint Bolick, Unfinished Business, Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1990, pp. 74-75, and Clint Bolick, Changing Course, Civil Rights at the Crossroads, Transaction, Inc., 1988, pp. 94-95.

(15) Allred, Saltzman, and Rosenbloom, "Factors Affecting the Use of Taxicabs by Lower Income Groups," Transportation Research Record Number 688, 1978, p. 23.

(16) Frankena and Pautler, p. 7.

(17) Walter Williams, The State Against Blacks, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1982, p. 25.

(18) Joe Winkler, Denver Post, September 13, 1985, p. 25A.

(19) Denver Post, April 17, 1984, p. 1D.

(20) Susan Goldfarb, UPI Business Profile, February 12, 1982.

(21) Denver Post, April 17, 1984, p. 1D.

(22) Denver Post, January 27, 1988, p. 1E.

(23) Denver Post (citing data from the PUC), June 25, 1988, p. 1D.

(24) Denver Post, December 21, 1987, p. 1A.

(25) Denver Post, April 10, 1985, p. 4A; Denver Post, March 30, 1987, p. 1C.

(26) Denver Post, April 1, 1987, p. 2C.

(27) Denver Post, September 13, 1985, p. 25A.

(28) Senator Joe Winkler (R-Castle Rock), Denver Post, September 13, 1985, p. 25A.


Institute for Justice Hails Taxicab Victory
Economic Freedom for Freedom Cabs Achieved

PRESS RELEASE: April 29, 1994
CONTACT: John Kramer (202) 457-4240

Washington, D.C. -- The Colorado legislature today gave a green light to the dreams of four aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own cab company. Today's passage of Senate Bill 113 breaks up Denver's taxicab monopoly and opens the door to new cab companies in the Mile High City for the first time since 1947.

Leroy Jones, Ani Ebong, Rowland Nwankwo and Girma Molalegne first challenged Denver's taxicab monopoly in January 1993 when they joined with the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit against the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which regulates taxis in the state. That lawsuit, and the resulting media coverage, created a statewide call for the replacement of Colorado's regulated taxi monopoly with a system of regulated competition.

Jones said he would like to be the first to apply for a permit to start his own cab company: "My partners and I are ready to launch Freedom Cabs as soon as the legislation becomes law. Unlike the monopoly we're replacing, all Freedom Cabs wants is the chance to compete by providing the best service. That's what America should be all about."

"This law marks the end of business as usual in Denver's taxicab industry," said Chip Mellor, Institute for Justice president and general counsel, who represents Jones and his partners. "The dark days of monopoly are over. This law creates a brighter future for Colorado entrepreneurs and consumers, and a ray of hope for those throughout America whose economic liberty is denied."

In addition to its legal challenge, the Institute for Justice spearheaded the legislation's passage overcoming fierce opposition from organized labor, the trucking industry and many of Colorado's most powerful lobbyists.

Colorado State Senator Bill Owens, who sponsored the senate bill, remarked, "The General Assembly today has sent a strong message to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission that the taxi industry should be infused with entrepreneurship and accountability to consumers."

NOTE: The Institute for Justice can arrange interviews to facilitate your coverage. Call John Kramer at (202) 457-4240.


Double Victories for Institute for Justice Taxi
Markets Opened in Denver, Cincinnati

PRESS RELEASE: January 26, 1995
CONTACT: John Kramer (202) 457-4240

Washington, D.C. -- The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice today announced two victories for economic liberty, the right to earn an honest living free from excessive government regulation.

The first victory came in Denver with the end of the city's 50-year-old taxi monopoly that granted licenses to three companies and excluded all others. As a result of litigation filed by the Institute for Justice, Freedom Cabs was today granted 50 new cab permits for this year and 50 more for next year by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Nearly 90 percent of cities with population of 50,000 or greater restrict entry into taxi markets.

"The founders of Freedom Cabs embody the courage it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in America today," said Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice. "In the face of an overwhelming bureaucracy that was stacked against them and rich vested interests, they showed character, vision and an unfailing self-belief that someday their company, Freedom Cabs, would be a reality. Because of their hard work and fortitude, Freedom Cabs will for years be a shining example for all would-be entrepreneurs that good people can fight city hall and win."

The second victory came in Cincinnati where yesterday the city council removed its cap on the number of cabs it would allow in the city and said existing taxi companies couldn't block new entrants by stating the new companies would hurt their business. Based on their successful Denver campaign, Leroy Jones, a co-founder of Freedom Cabs and Institute for Justice President Chip Mellor testified before the Cincinnati city council at the invitation of Mayor Roxanne Qualls. Jones and Mellor urged the council to create inner-city job opportunities and improve taxi service by opening up the market to new entrepreneurs.

"Despite today's important victories, pointless government regulations still deny countless qualified individuals nationwide the right to earn a living in occupations ideally suited to entry-level entrepreneurs," Mellor said. "That's why the Institute for Justice will continue working with those outside the economic mainstream to open up taxi markets as well as other entry level occupations."

The Institute for Justice advances a rule of law under which individuals control their destinies as free and responsible members of society. Through strategic litigation, training, and outreach, the Institute secures greater protection for individual liberty, challenges the scope and ideology of the Regulatory Welfare State, and illustrates and extends the benefits of freedom to those whose full enjoyment of liberty is denied by government. The Institute was founded in September 1991 by Mellor and Clint Bolick.

NOTE: The Institute for Justice can arrange interviews to facilitate your coverage. Call John Kramer at (202) 457-4240.


Press Quotes

Institute for Justice In the Spotlight

Economic Liberty

"The Institute for Justice has helped break down oligopolies in Denver, Cincinnati and Indianapolis; [IJ President Chip] Mellor and [Communications Director John] Kramer have now drafted legislation to do the same thing in Boston. [T]heir proposal received one of the Pioneer Institute's much-coveted Better Government Awards. Except for the few who've been enriched by the system, anticompetitive taxi regulations are a disaster."

-- Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe, December 5, 1995


"Broadening opportunities, not only for blacks but for all Americans, requires efforts to repeal laws written in the interest of incumbents that have the effect of keeping people out who can be generally described as outsiders, discriminated-against and lacking political clout. The Washington-based Institute for Justice is doing just that. After testimony by the institute's director, Chip Mellor, Cincinnati removed its cap on the number of cabs allowed to operate in the city. . . .Last year, the Institute for Justice forced the Colorado Public Utility Commission to relax taxi entry conditions in Denver, and it also assisted in bringing suit to lift Houston's ban on jitney services."

-- Walter Williams, Cincinnati Enquirer,1995


"With the able assistance of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, which litigates and lobbies on behalf of economic liberty nationwide, Freedom Cabs had fought a generations-old law that essentially kept new cab operators, notably minorities, off the streets."

-- Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, August 2, 1995


"To win their battle, Jones, Ebong and Molalegne first enlisted attorneys from the Washington-based Institute for Justice who filed a lawsuit challenging Denver's taxicab monopoly. The institute took the case as part of its effort to restore `economic liberty,' the right of all Americans `to pursue a business or profession free from arbitrary or excessive government regulation.'"

-- Rocky Mountain News, August 2, 1995


"Leroy Jones may be Colorado's strongest advocate of deregulation, entrepreneurial ambition and a wide-open free market."

-- Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News, 1995


"Broadening opportunities, not only for blacks but for all Americans, requires efforts to repeal laws written in the interest of incumbents that have the effect of keeping people out who can be generally described as outsiders, discriminated-against and lacking political clout. The Washington-based Institute for Justice is doing just that. After testimony by the institute's director, Chip Mellor, Cincinnati removed its cap on the number of cabs allowed to operate in the city. . . .Last year, the Institute for Justice forced the Colorado Public Utility Commission to relax taxi entry conditions in Denver, and it also assisted in bringing suit to lift Houston's ban on jitney services."

-- Walter Williams, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1995


"The Institute for Justice [is comprised of] libertarian lawyers seeking judicial rulings to re-establish economic liberty as a fundamental civil right."

-- George F. Will, Washington Post, February 5, 1995


"[Institute President Chip] Mellor argues, `all Americans have a basic civil right to pursue a business or profession free of arbitrary and oppressive government regulation.' He's right."

-- Linda Cagnetti, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 18, 1995


"On November 9, 1993, five small minority-owned contracting firms and three tenant management groups, with the help of the Washington-based Institute for Justice, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with the goal of eliminating one of the last remnants of institutional racism: the Davis-Bacon Act."

-- Portland Observer, October 5, 1994


"In recent times, many seeking to advance the cause of civil rights have attempted to do so by passing legislation. The Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group, is pioneering a new civil rights strategy, using the opposite track. It is seeking to get laws that infringe upon civil rights off the books. The particular focus is novel--they are challenging legislation that interferes with the right of individuals to earn a living free from arbitrary and excessive regulation. So far, they have enjoyed surprising success. Perhaps that is why they now take on their toughest opponent to date--the Davis-Bacon Act."

-- Destiny Magazine, August 1994


"The Institute's lawyers have already made progress, with several victories under their belts, including successful challenges to regulation of the Denver taxi cab industry and District of Columbia cosmetology profession. With nearly 1,000 occupations regulated by the states, however, the Institute has a long way to go."

-- Destiny Magazine, August 1994


"[The Institute's lawsuit brought on behalf of four Denver would-be entrepreneurs] got so much press that Inc. magazine did a piece on it under the heading of `Regulated Monopolies or why four Denver cabbies can't go into business for themselves.'"

-- Black Car News, June 1994


"The barriers to entry into the taxicab industry are in the process of being challenged and broken down all over the country. Just recently, the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, challenged the restrictive taxicab market in Denver, Colorado. As a result of the challenge the Institute engaged in on behalf of their clients in Denver, Colorado Governor Roy Romer recently signed legislation that broke up the taxicab monopoly in that city."

-- Black Car News, June 1994


"[The four would-be entrepreneurs] first challenged Denver's taxicab monopoly in January 1993 when they joined with the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit against the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which regulates taxis in the state. That lawsuit, and the resulting media coverage, created a statewide call for the replacement of Colorado's regulated taxi monopoly with a system of regulated competition. . . .This particular case got so much press that Inc. magazine did a piece on it under the heading of "Regulated Monopolies or why four Denver cabbies can't go into business for themselves."

-- Black Car News, June 1994


"It is implicitly accepted--especially among readers of this magazine--that among the most guaranteed of rights in America is the individual's right to attempt to earn a living in his or her chosen field of endeavor. In fact, claims Clint Bolick, director of litigation for the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm based in Washington, D.C., that litigates cases relating to economic liberty, "of all the rights Americans think we have, there's no question that economic liberty is the least protected."

-- Inc., May 1994


"Last year, however, a suit was filed on behalf of aspiring taxicab entrepreneurs by the Washington-based Institute for Justice against the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the licensing agent in the state. The lawsuit led to legislation that could create what the institute calls `regulated competition.'"

-- Detroit News, May 10, 1994


"Economists have long produced learned papers on why. . .regulations aimed not at safety or health but at preserving someone's economic privilege, can lead to higher prices and worse service. Last year the Washington-based Institute for Justice, an advocate for economic liberty, decided to go beyond theorizing and filed suit against the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The Institute and its clients lost in court, which ruled that the state had the power to create and enforce a monopoly. But they won in the court of public opinion. On Friday, the Colorado legislature finally passed a law opening the door to taxi competition for the first time since 1947."

-- San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 1994


"Meet the new civil rights activists. Their belief is that the right to earn a living free from excessive regulation is guaranteed by the Constitution. Their lawyer is [the Institute for Justice's Vice President] Clint Bolick."

-- Wall Street Journal, April 20, 1994


"The Institute for Justice is wedded to the idea that one of the most vital civil rights is economic liberty."

-- San Francisco Examiner, January 31, 1994


"The institute went to bat for Uqdah [its client] not just in court, but, with unabashed verve, in the media. Uqdah's business was featured in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and ABC's `20/20.' The board [which opposed Uqdah's efforts] wisely chose to back down."

-- San Francisco Examiner, January 31, 1994


"New ideas [in civil rights] are desperately called for. President Clinton might find some by looking just six blocks from his house, at a small, nonprofit law center founded in 1991 called the Institute for Justice. The Institute for Justice is wedded to the idea that one of the most vital civil rights is economic liberty."

-- San Francisco Daily Recorder, January 24, 1994


"The Institute for Justice is at it again, using the tactics of the left to pursue conservative goals. . . Until the IFJ came along, civil rights litigation was largely the province of the left. Conservatives had been hesitant to pursue social policy through the court. But the IFJ not only was willing to use legal action to further its political goals, Mr. Mellor and Mr. Bolick stole the Left's playbook."

-- Washington Times, November 22, 1993


"If successful, the Institute for Justice's lawsuit would effectively toss out the 62-year-old law that has forced contractors working on federal projects worth more than $2,000 to pay `prevailing' wages, which usually are very close--or often the same--as union wages."

-- Kevin Harden, Daily Journal of Commerce, November 16, 1993


"The Institute for Justice has made a specialty of attacking other closed "good old boy" arrangements that have kept minorities jobless."

-- John Hall, Media General News Service, November 14, 1993


"Mrs. Brazier and Mr. Cruz have joined a suit, filed in conjunction with the Institute for Justice, that would declare Davis-Bacon unconstitutional. Their case gives civil rights leaders a final chance to stop nuzzling the union bosses and show a little guts."

-- Tony Snow, Gannett News Service, December 13, 1993


"[Filing a lawsuit to break up Denver's taxicab monopoly and the resulting CBS Evening News coverage] was a legal-political coup beyond the dreams of most litigants, and it was a measure of the clout of a tiny group of lawyers who in late 1991 set up the non-profit Institute for Justice in the Nation's Capitol. Wags have taken to calling the increasingly visible institute `bleeding-heart conservatives'."

-- Gail Diane Cox, The National Law Journal, July 26, 1993


"So give a cheer and a wink for Clint Bolick and Chip Mellor, legal gunslingers with a taste for entrepreneurs. We also hope that Bolick and Mellor have founded a growth industry as economic advocates."

-- Thomas G. Donlan, Barron's National Business & Financial Weekly, July 12, 1993


"The implications [of the Institute for Justice's lawsuit to break up Denver's taxicab monopoly] reach far beyond this city. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulations on taxicab operations across the country cost passengers about $800 million every year and, says the study, if those regulations were lifted, there would be nearly 40,000 new jobs for cabbies."

-- Bob Faw, "CBS Evening News", July 2, 1993


"Wednesday night devotions at Denver's Mount Zion Baptist Church shows the issue [of taxicab deregulation] isn't just property rights, it's about people. The ladies of the mission service know that when prayers end, it won't do much good to call a taxi."

-- Bob Faw, "CBS Evening News", July 2, 1993


"[The story of the Institute for Justice's clients in Denver] is still a story of the American Dream: thus far a dream deferred; an opportunity denied."

-- Bob Faw, "CBS Evening News", July 2, 1993


"[T]he Washington-based Institute for Justice's goals are to crack open the doors for poor entrepreneurs whose efforts are being blocked by excessive government regulation."

-- Chuck Colson, Break Point, July 1993


"Institute for Justice [is] a public interest group fighting for something our cities desperately need more of: economic opportunity at the grassroots."

-- Scripps Howard News Service, April 26, 1993


"The Quick Pick Four won fame and martyrdom because their cause arises from that little-visited place where the interests of free market conservatives and civil rights activists meet. To conservative advocates of free (or freer) markets, the Four embody the capitalist quest for truth, justice and so forth. Yet, to civil rights advocates they embody the age-old story of blacks versus the power establishment."

-- David Lewis, Rocky Mountain News, February 21, 1993


"Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm with a concern for economic justice, the Institute has chosen to make Denver's cab monopoly a test case. It is an important test case, not just for economic equity but also for citizen's dignity."

-- Robert Maynard (Syndicated Columnist), February 19, 1993


"Lawsuits generally should be discouraged, but consumers ought to cheer a case filed recently [by the Institute for Justice] in federal court in Denver over the imbecilic restrictions Colorado imposes on the taxicab business."

-- The Denver Post, February 7, 1993


"[T]he institute seeks enlightened application of judicial rulings that regulation must be reasonably related to the legitimate promotion of the public welfare. The institute wants to narrow judicial deference toward government regulation that is anti-competitive both in intent and effect."

-- George F. Will (Syndicated Columnist), February 4, 1993


"The institute has already won cases in which courts have agreed with it that individuals have a civil right to earn a living free from excessive regulation. Many of its clients are low-income minorities because many economic regulations were passed during the Jim Crow era, in part to block minority entry into various occupations."

-- The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 1993


"The Washington-based Institute for Justice has made a crusade out of challenging discriminatory laws that prevent people from pursuing their trade or occupation."

-- The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 1992


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