Federal Court Nullifies Kentucky Law Permitting Firms to "Veto" Licensing Applications of New Competitors


In a ruling issued on Monday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky struck down a state law requiring would-be entrepreneurs in the moving company business to receive permission to compete from their established rivals.

At issue in Bruner v. Zawacki was a Kentucky statute forcing anyone interested in entering the moving business to first convince state officials "that the existing transportation service is inadequate." How? By surviving a government hearing where existing moving companies were invited to "file a protest to the granting, in whole or in part, of the application." In the words of yesterday's ruling by Judge Danny Reeves, the Kentucky agency charged with issuing those licenses "has never issued a Certificate to a new applicant when a protest from a competing mover was made."

That monopolistic state of affairs prompted Raleigh Bruner, owner of the unlicensed Wildcat Moving company in Lexington, to file suit. Represented in federal court by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a national public interest law firm, Bruner argued that the Kentucky law violated his right to earn a living under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The U.S. district court agreed. The "notice, protest, and hearing procedures" amount to "an act of simple economic protectionism," Judge Reeves declared, and therefore "offend and violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution." Henceforth, the judge ruled, "prospective moving companies…will not be subject to a 'veto' from their competition before they may lawfully act as a moving company."

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  1. Saw this story on Stossel over the Christmas holiday. Glad to see it looks as if it will have a happy ending.

  2. Bruner argued that the Kentucky law violated his right to earn a living under the Fourteenth Amendment.

    And it worked?

    I haz an amaze.

    1. …”an act of simple economic protectionism,” Judge Reeves declared…

      “Economic protectionism”? Who talks like that?

      1. Have you read many judicial decisions. former lawyers are incapable of using plain english.

        1. I was shocked because that’s what it is!

          Let judges use terms like “economic protectionism”, and the next thing you know Lochner will be reestablished.

  3. I don’t get how the court could rule this way. I mean, such laws are intended to erect barriers to entry to competition. How can the court thwart the will of the people in such a manner?

    1. He called it a tax.

      1. No, that can’t be it, because the Tax power makes everything okay. I will say that it’s becoming a bit pass? and may be trumped by the Postal power.

        1. That’s why he managed to overrule the will of the people. A judge can do whatever he wishes if its a tax.

          1. Oh, I see. So the Taxing power is even greater than the People power.

            1. It is the Ultimate Power.

              1. He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing.

                1. Somebody is keeping up with their Dune reading.

                  1. Yes, the Tax power is just like the spice.

    2. I predict great chaos in the Kentucky moving industry. Biblical-level destruction! Dogs and cats, moving together!


  4. Even a broken clock…

  5. …Raleigh Bruner, owner of the unlicensed Wildcat Moving company in Lexington…

    I see what Raleigh Bruner did there.

  6. Great! Now, apply it to medicine.


      1. And communications and taxis and food trucks and…

          1. If you have to apply for state permission before you get to fuck a lawyer, I am in trouble.

            1. You don’t, but the attorney has to apply for an exemption. It’s an ethics thing.

              1. Auric: Not so fast! While I was filing, I came upon a certain document filed by a certain Morgan ProLib. Form B, notification of romantic entanglement.

                Fist: That’s right, he fraternized me!

                Morgan ProLib: That form wasn’t about you. It refers to my high school prom date. It was a regulation date that ended in regulation disappointment.

                Auric: Yes, but you only stamped it four times.

                Morgan ProLib: No! No! I was young and reckless!

  7. Slightly off topic:

    OMG Kate Moss flashed a nipple!

    Seriously though, she don’t look that bad for a 40yr old alcoholic.

    1. For anyone who hasn’t seen the excellent Kate Moss cocaine video, she’s a fucking champ.

  8. I should have something moved in celebration.

    But for serious, I will keep that company in mind for my future moving needs.

    1. Have them move all your stuff outside, and then back inside. See if they get mad.

    2. Lexington’s hipster roots circa 1960

      1. That is now a beer bar with a decent selection of brews and an overpriced food menu. Progress!

          1. The “Poor Artist Sandwich” was free. Maybe you had to draw something to settle up, like Picasso did.

    3. I actually have future moving needs…will also keep them in mind.

    4. “SugarFree|2.4.14 @ 10:49AM|#

      I should have something moved in celebration”

      Bowel. it is symbolic. Free movement! LIBERTAD!!

  9. how does that sort of law get passed in the first place?

    1. Someone had a good lobbyist?

    2. A legislator has a stake in a moving business?

    3. two very good and highly likely answers.

    4. Because those that fear a free market fear it because they cannot compete in productive enterprises. What they are good at is scheming and plotting while truly productive people usually are not.

  10. So when can we expect Kentucky’s hospital certificate of need law to be struck down?

    1. Notice that, as I read the blurb above, this didnt end the certificate of need portion, just the competition veto portion.

      I assume you still have to apply for a license with the state.

    2. By not getting rid of CON, all they have done is push the veto underground. Its still there, never fear.

  11. You fools! You damn, dirty fools! Soon Kentucky will see roving bands of renegade movers clashing in the streets over ottomans and china hutches! Priceless boxes of heirlooms and mom’s handpainted porcelein baby angel collection dashed against the sides of moving vans during high-speed firefights in the streets of Louisville and Lexington! THIS IS WHAT COMPETITION DOES TO BUSINESS.

    1. Little known fact: Lord Humungus was offering to move that community. That was it, he just had an unlicensed moving business. Max, being a government employee, opposed the use of the unlicensed moving service and used force to ensure compliance with the law.

    2. Dweebston, quickly find someone with a dark sense of humor and musical talent and turn this into a Broadway show.

      Why are you still reading this, go now!

      1. Um, no offsense, jesse, but wouldn’t YOU be qualified to help turn this into a Broadway show?

        I mean, being…one…who likely enjoys Broadway shows…and all. That’s all. Just a thought….

        1. who likely enjoys Broadway shows

          While I do enjoy a musical now and then, I chose the kitchen boon for coming out and skipped the musical theater one. I have zero musical talent.

  12. Poor Kentucky doesn’t have the advantage of the Commerce Clause.

    If Barack Obama and Congress wanted to do this on a national scale, the Court would probably let him.

    The argument for doing this is better than the arguments for making people eat broccoli.

  13. “The “notice, protest, and hearing procedures” amount to “an act of simple economic protectionism,” Judge Reeves declared, and therefore “offend and violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” Henceforth, the judge ruled, “prospective moving companies…will not be subject to a ‘veto’ from their competition before they may lawfully act as a moving company”


    Now all the courts need to do is apply that principle nationwide to every form of economic protectionism – a prime example being Hospital/medical services “certificate of need” schemes that prevent competiton in that industry.

  14. I actually have future moving needs…will also keep them in mind.

    Your new wife will be having all your stuff moved into storage?

    1. Shit, mine just threw away anything we (and by that I mean *she*) didn’t have a use for. The payback is when I get to say, “Oh, I used to have one of those… I wonder what happened to it…”

      1. Sorry, I’m gonna have to side with Mrs Brett L on this one. We have a basement full of useless shit that will never see the light of actual use again, but we *can’t* throw any of it out because we might need it someday. That’s no way to live, son. General guideline: if you haven’t touched it in two years AND it would cost less than 50 bucks should you ever need to replace it, out it goes (he says, typing quietly so that the Mrs won’t come read).

        1. We have a garage that is being used for exactly the same purpose. No room for a car (not even room for a motorcycle if I had one). My wife still has a box full of her old pointe shoes. She hasn’t performed (at least not ballet) in over 25 years.

        2. To be fair, I am something of a holder, unless I have to move that shit. But she threw away shit that I did use because it was old or she didn’t like it. I think I have a case.

          1. Mrs. Almanian and I are pretty good with the “old shit we never use” getting the heave ho.

            I’m on to the 300 Level classes. My technique is….

            *Mrs. Almanian raises issue

            * I respond: “Yeah….gee, if we had that welder I was looking at, I could fix that up in just a second….” And never miss any opportunity to point out every instance in which a welder may be useful.

            I will have a new MIG welder this year at some point (unless I trade it for the new set of Gibson bagpipes I was just looking at…I’d defer the welder for a set of Gibsons)

      2. Holy crap, Brett. You might as well grow a vagina at this point and live in a forbidden sapphic love nest.

        The correct response is, “Huh. Now I have to go out and buy a brand new one.”

        1. When it is an AV cable or an extra power cord or an old computer mouse, I don’t want to buy a new one. I want the one I put back so I didn’t have to run to the store when this exact situation inevitably came up.

          1. I hear ya. My misc.shit boxes are strictly off limits. I am a well organized rat packer of extraordinary proportions when it comes to electronic flotsam. You never know when you will need this near-worthless piece of equipment!

            I have validated this model at least twice now, of having hard-or-impossible-to-find parts on hand, out the thousands of parts in storage.

    2. Im moving about 5 things from my house and selling the rest.

      Storage? I aint payin for storage.

  15. …Raleigh Bruner, owner of the unlicensed Wildcat Moving company in Lexington…

    I think I get what he mean..

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