New Privileges or Immunities Clause Lawsuit Against Boston:
This morning, the Institute for Justice brought a lawsuit against the City of Boston asserting its client's rights under the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The new lawsuit involves a Cambridge tour operator who wants access to the Charles River via a boat launch ramp that is located in Boston. Boston refuses to give the licenses that would permit the operator to cross the Longfellow Bridge on its way to the boat ramp. Although the aspect of the lawsuit asserting the right to pursue a lawful occupation free of unreasonable regulation challenges the 1873 opinion in The Slaughter-House Cases, the lawsuit also cleverly asserts the right of access to navigable waterways that was affirmed in dicta in Slaughter-House. The Boston Globe has a favorable editorial this morning here including this excerpt:
A moratorium on new sightseeing vehicles may have made sense during Big Dig construction. But the Big Dig is over, and so is the need for such stringent traffic precautions. Further, the moratorium appears to have lifted for current operators who were granted 11 new licenses since 2000, according to the lawsuit. That's powerful evidence for the Institute for Justice's contention that the snubbing of Tyler is nothing more than government protection of an "entrenched cartel" favoring the seven operators who now control the 107 sightseeing licenses in Boston. . . . Absent any concern for the health and safety of the public, the moratorium, especially if applied selectively, is little more than a means to tread on the economic liberties of entrepreneurs.
Wow! Yes, that was the Boston Globe. Here is a story about the lawsuit in today's Boston Herald. The following video shows the innovative watercraft that the tour operator intends to use, and an explanation of the case by IJ attorney Jeff Rowes and his client Erroll Tyler. [Full disclosure: the video also includes brilliant legal commentary from a member of the Georgetown Law faculty. *s*]