Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

Makin’ Laws, Takin’ Names

Today, the U.S. Eastern District Court of Wisconsin struck down the state’s “minimum markup” law, which generally required gas stations to mark gasoline up 9.18% over the price paid at the pump.  Last year, I issued a report that argued the law kept gas prices artificially high for consumers.  (And for which I was called a “boob” on a Janesville radio station by a gas station owner.  He may be right, but it wasn’t because of this report.)

As it turns out, my study was cited in the decision written by Judge Rudolph Randa.  Take a look:

Similarly, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute analyzed data which suggested that “the law has indeed kept gasoline prices higher than would otherwise be the case.” The Institute concluded that the Act “benefits retail gas station owners at the expense of consumers and should be repealed.” (D. 35-5 at 7). The State fails to contradict or undermine this evidence. In other words, the State confusingly argues in favor of a rule of reason but then fails to argue why the Act is a reasonable restraint.

Naturally, I believe the ruling to be correct and a good deal for consumers.  And the fact that my words showed up in this important ruling is definitely going on the resume.  Right next to “excels at eating with chopsticks.”

CORRECTION:  It appears a commenter has it right, and I spoke too soon.  The citation is that of our 1998 WPRI report, not my study of last year.  I had four people e-mail me, congratulating me for being in the ruling, and the actual citation was not available in the decision, which was all that was online.  I just assumed that since my report said the same thing almost verbatim, that it was me.  In any event, good for WPRI.


  1. Randa has sentenced Georgia Thompson to prison without bail.
    Four months later, the charges were thrown out after 20 minutes of discussion at an appeal and she was order to be “immediately released”.
    And the Federal Court shamed him, in that ruling.

    Think this activist conservative judge will not get overturned again?

  2. Christian Schneider

    February 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Right. Because this law is opposed by noted right wingers such as Jim Doyle, John Norquist (who worked tirelessly in the ’80s to have it repealed), Tim Carpenter, Bronson LaFollette, Shirley Krug, etc. Sadly, they all have been fooled into the “conservative” position on this.

  3. I think it was the earlier study from 1998 that was cited, not your report from this past summer. You need to check the docket entries more closely.

  4. Your recent report came out after briefing concluded, which is probably why it was never submitted into evidence.

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