An organization that repeatedly has fought for the property rights of food-truck operators to sell their wares says it has won a victory in its battle against Carolina Beach, North Carolina.
Officials at the Institute for Justice have taken up the cause of the mostly independent operators who run food trucks, winning victories in San Antonio, El Paso and Louisville. It also is fighting cases in Baltimore and Fish Creek, Wisconsin.
And it is getting ready to argue before the Illinois Supreme Court regarding their status in Chicago.
In the Carolina Beach fight, officials are claiming victory even though they say the fight’s not over yet.
Word came just days ago that the town council repealed a law that made it illegal to run a food truck in town unless the owner also runs a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The vote came only a week after IJ and several clients sued.
“It is a shame that it took a lawsuit to convince the town to repeal such an obviously unconstitutional law,” said Justin Pearson, a senior attorney at IJ. “I’m hopeful that last night’s vote will signal the end to the town’s attempt to use the power of government to favor a handful of established businesses over the region’s entrepreneurs. We hope that Carolina Beach realizes that when a town tries to restrict entrepreneurs for the benefit of existing businesses, everyone – customers and business owners, alike – loses.”
But since the council voted to reopen public debate over regulations for those retailers, IJ attorney Johanna Talcott said the fight isn’t over.
“[That] vote indicates that the town wants to abide by the state constitution, but the town also indicated that it still intends to pursue regulations regarding food trucks. We will continue to monitor those conversations and press for laws that foster open competition, entrepreneurship and, most importantly, more food options for Carolina Beach’s residents and visitors.”
Those who complained included food-truck owners Michelle Rock, Aaron and Monica Cannon, and Harley Bruce.
They filed under the state law that says any restriction on a citizen’s right to earn a living must be based on a reasonable concern for public health and safety.
It came after town officials said they were fine with food trucks, just not competition from “outsiders.”
Harley Bruce, owner of Poor Piggy’s BBQ & Catering, said in a statement released by IJ that just about everybody he talked to was in favor of allowing food trucks in the town and “the town seems to be listening to what the people are saying and making positive change.”
WND reported only days ago that the IJ was going to the Illinois Supreme Court over a “super creepy” demand in Chicago.
That’s a requirement from the city that all food trucks run GPS systems that let the city – and the public – known where they are every five minutes.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served in Barack Obama’s White House during his first term, claimed they are needed “so that the city and consumers can follow [food truck] locations.”
But he Institute for Justice took up the fight when LMP Services objected to the requirement for its trucks back in 2012, and its arguments have included opposition to a city ban on trucks operating within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“Politically connected businesses should not be able to use the government to shut out their competition and restrict consumers’ choices,” said Robert Frommer, an IJ senior attorney, said when it was confirmed the state Supreme Court would review the case.
“The Illinois Supreme Court has an opportunity to strike down protectionism and stand up for the freedom of food truck owners to earn a living.”
The Pacific Legal Foundation also has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the IJ’s position, emphasizing that the GPS demand likely violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
Its expertise is in property rights, and it has fought and won multiple precedents at the U.S. Supreme Court, including those set in the Hawkes, Koontz and Sackett cases.
Its attorney, Timothy R. Snowball, explained the Chicago rule collects information about the truck movements.
But he explained in an online report, “The Fourth Amendment provides that ‘[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.…’ The Fourth Amendment was originally grounded in property rights, but this approach was augmented with a standard based on personal expectations of privacy in the 1960s. In recent cases, however, the Supreme Court has made clear that the Fourth Amendment still provides specific protection for private property, including effects (personal property). In addition, the Illinois Supreme Court has found that the Illinois Constitution provides even more protection against unreasonable searches than the Fourth Amendment.”