Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Timothy Sandefur has been fighting a case in court that I think I’ve mentioned here before. The case is in Oregon, where the state had one of the most absurd rent-seeking laws I’ve ever seen on the books. Here’s how he explained the law:

“The old law basically said that when you apply for a license to operate a moving company, the Oregon Department of Transportation would notify all existing moving companies and allow them to object,” Sandefur explains. “Then the applicant would have to prove that there was a ‘public need’ for a new business – but nobody knows what ‘public need’ means.” As a result, existing moving companies were protected from competition, and could keep their prices high.


When a man named Adam Sweet tried to start a moving company, his competitors in the business – surprise, surprise – didn’t want the competition and voted him down. So he filed suit and Sandefur represented him in court. But that case has now been mooted because the Oregon legislature agreed that the law was ridiculous and repealed it.

“The new law eliminates this requirement and says, as long as you pass a background check and have insurance, you can start a business without having to ask permission from your own competitors. This is a victory for hard-working wealth creators – and for consumers.”…

“I am delighted that state legislators and the Governor have now remedied a long-standing wrong by opening up the home moving industry to competition,” said Buckstein. “This is a great day for Oregon entrepreneurs, consumers, and the principle of economic liberty. It demonstrates that Oregon’s pioneer spirit is still alive and well.”

The old law was so dumb that the new one apparently passed the legislature without objection. A victory for freedom and for sanity.