Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Compelling State Interest In Ticket Prices


Some states are finally starting to loosen rules against scalping. This evil act involves someone who bought a ticket and attempts the dastardly capitalistic function of reselling it. Most people think of scalping as charging more than the face value for tickets, and in some cases that is true. When a ticket can be resold at greater than face value, that tells me (an evil livid terrier that majored in economics) that the original ticket price was too low. Not all states are just concerned about people who make a dollar on the scalping. Some places, like Lexington, Kentucky, even outlaw the selling of tickets for face value and below face value.

Lame Law Enforcement

Recently, Lexington police did a sting to catch people selling the hottest commodity in the Bluegrass State, University of Kentucky basketball tickets. People were arrested under state law and local ordinances. Their crime: selling UK basketball tickets. Some were scalping above face value, but some were people with extra tickets selling at or below face value.

The Lawsuit

One man from Paris, Kentucky (a city under attack at a fellow blog called Villainous Company) was an innocent victim of the Lexington Police sting. He has filed a lawsuit to have the city ordinace declared unconstitutional.

Based on the article, he is arguing on free speech grounds and search and seizure grounds. Kentucky's Bill of Rights is not identical to the U.S. one, so I don't know how that will go. Still, I would suggest this provision instead:

Kentucky Constitution
Section 2

Absolute and arbitrary power denied.
Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.

Text as Ratified on: August 3, 1891, and revised September 28, 1891.History: Not yet amended.

This nice provision is a pseudo-livid terrier provision right there in the Kentucky Constitution. The Kentucky Supreme Court used it in 1992 to strike down Kentucky's sodomy law. I can't imagine a more ridiculous law than one that prevents a person from selling his basketball tickets to me, someone who needs them.

By the way, I was at the SEC Tournament in the Georgia Dome yesterday. I bought my tickets from a University of Georgia fan. Over 95% of the fans in the Dome were UK fans. The other 11 teams should be embarrassed.