Biggs v. Betlatch

Voters demand supermajority approval for tax increases

A bare majority of the Arizona state legislature passed a law requiring the director of the state Health Care Cost Containment System – which governs the state Medicaid program – to levy an "assessment" on hospitals to pay for Medicaid expansion. Legislators who opposed the law sued to invalidate it on the grounds that the bill created a tax th ...

Anderson v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

Homeowners have a constitutional right to rent to travelers

Two Nashville ordinances banned any form of advertising short-term rentals with signage on the property, and capped the number of non-owner-occupied short-term rentals to three percent of the properties in each census tract. Rachel and P.J. Anderson periodically rent out their home via Airbnb and sued to strike down the law as violating their First ...

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Causation, and not deep pockets, should dictate liability

In 2007, the expectant mother of twins used a generic form of an asthma medication for the off-label purpose of preventing pre-term labor. Novartis was the former manufacturer of the brand-name version of the medication until it sold its rights to the product in 2001. The twins were diagnosed with autism in 2012, allegedly tied to the medication. T ...

African-style hair braiding - thumbnail
Niang v. Carroll

Cosmetology cartel seeks to squash competition by African-style hair braiders

Missouri law requires African-style hair braiders to be licensed as a cosmetologist or barber. To obtain such a license, an applicant must pass a background check, undergo thousands of hours of training (costing thousands of dollars to attend special schools), and pass an exam. Neither the cosmetology nor barbering curricula teach African-style hai ...

Kunath v. City of Seattle

Seattle imposes arbitrary and unconstitutional tax on achievement

The Washington State Constitution prohibits the government from levying an income tax on targeted segments of the population; any income tax must be uniformly applied to all citizens. Nonetheless, Seattle enacted an income tax targeting those making in excess of $250,000 per year with a 2.25% tax rate, setting a 0% rate for everyone else. Promoted ...

Minerva Dairy v. Brancel

Wisconsin flunks constitutional law with artisanal butter grading

Minerva Dairy, and its President, Adam Mueller, challenged a Wisconsin law that prevents butter makers from outside the state from selling their products in Wisconsin unless they go through an arduous and costly process of getting their butter "graded." Grading has nothing to do with quality or safety; it is graded by taste, as determined by govern ...

Woman vaping
Vaping Litigation

The Constitution going up in vapor

Electronic nicotine delivery systems—vaping devices and e-cigarettes—first hit U.S. stores in 2007. It didn't take long for vaping to jump from zero to a $5 billion domestic industry, as entrepreneurs quickly recognized a market hungry for an alternative to traditional cigarettes. In 2016, just as the burgeoning vaping industry was getting off ...

Chef Geoff
Chef Geoff’s v. The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority

Chef Geoff clears away unconstitutional “Happy Hour” gag rule

Award-winning restaurateur Chef Geoff Tracy owns restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Only Virginia, however, restricted the way Chef Geoff advertises happy hour specials. While state law allowed businesses to offer happy hour, it banned advertising happy hour prices, as well as the use of any terms other than "happy hour" or "d ...

regulation of hearing aid in Florida
Taylor v. Polhill, et al

Florida’s outdated licensing robs hearing, livelihoods

In Florida, you need a license to sell hearing aids. Dan Taylor of Melbourne, Florida, gave up his license after 30 years, because Florida's outdated regulations were made for older hearing aids, not the updated, technologically sophisticated models he and his customers prefer. In a federal lawsuit on behalf of Dan, PLF argued that Florida's licens ...