(Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.)

In “The Permission Society,” Timothy Sandefur, the Goldwater Institute’s Vice President for Litigation, argues that our legal landscape is shaped by the notion that normal, mature adults are helpless or dangerous when left free to act without first obtaining government permission. Click here to read IJ attorney Josh Windham’s book review, which explores the origins and nature of the permission society, how it conflicts with our founding philosophy and what we can do to move to a free society.
After his wife got a red-light-camera ticket, Oregonian Mats Järlström became interested in how yellow lights are timed. Mats has a math and science background, and he concluded that the standard yellow-light formula is incomplete. He spoke publicly about his ideas, including at a national transportation conference. But Oregon’s engineer-licensing board had heard enough. They subjected Mats to a two-year investigation and fined him $500 for “critiquing” traffic-light timing and speaking publicly about “algorithms” without a license. A First Amendment problem? Absolutely. Last week, Mats filed suit to vindicate his right to debate technical topics without first getting permission from the government. Click here to read more.