Cost of Dying Adjustment

|

After a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to crush Oklahoma's casket cartel, the Institute for Justice has turned its attention to Maryland's protectionist regulation of the death industry. In particular, I.J. is challenging a requirement that funeral home owners be licensed funeral home directors. Although Maryland lets widows of licensed funeral home directors and executors of their estates take over the business, it won't let an entrepreneur open a funeral home and pay somebody else to do the icky body handling. The privilege of hiring professional help is reserved for an elite list of corporations. "As a result of the cartel," I.J. estimates, "a Maryland funeral costs about $800 more than it would in a more open market." As in Oklahoma, I.J.'s lawsuit claims Maryland's anticompetitive rules violate the 14th Amendment's Due Process, Equal Protection, and Privileges or Immunities clauses.

NEXT: Attn, DC Reasonoids: David, Goliath, Instapundit, Joe Trippi, Booze, & More, Mon. March 6

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Onward, Dulcinea!

  2. There should be a drive-thru human body shredder/composter that ought to cost about $100 per body.
    Bodies should be accepted dead or alive.
    If enough people can shuck the bullshit about human bodies having some kind of magical properties, then we could get on with my idea.

    This is under the assumption that, at some future date, there would be more bodies than needed for med students to dissect.

  3. #6:

    A reference to Don Quixote, or Tad Williams’ Otherland? Either way, I don’t get the connection.

  4. I can’t fucking believe they lost in Oklahoma. IJ characterizes the case thusly:

    ?the 10th Circuit found naked political favoritism in government regulation of business to be a ?legitimate government interest,?

    Ouch. It’s enough to make one strike up a romance with tequila. Kelo unplugged the life support on property rights. Now every ruling that finds “legitimate government interest” is just another nail in the coffin.

  5. There should be a drive-thru human body shredder/composter that ought to cost about $100 per body.

    Soylent Green, man. And they ought to be paying you.

  6. For justice, we must go to Don Corleone.

  7. Hope to see you folks again real soon!

  8. What is the rationale behind these laws anyway? I can see justifying the FDA because “we must protect consumers from harmful food or dangerous drugs.” (I don’t agree with it, but I can see how others would.) I can see the justification for car-safety standards, environmental standards, and even certain types of zoning laws.

    But what is the supposed risk to the public that is being mitigated by strict laws concerning who can and cannot make boxes to bury corpses in, or who can own a funeral home? The only possible public-safety law I can see regarding corpses is “they can’t be left to rot in the open air.” Otherwise, what is the presumed danger we’re being protected from?

  9. Evan-Quixote. I was suggesting that the IJ’s idealism, while charming, will get them nowhere.

  10. This is the sort of thing that tends to be regulated without much oversight, so trying to find a ‘legitimate’ rationale for it is difficult–the pols involved probably didn’t bother trying to dream one up.

  11. Jennifer,
    Much of the regulation of the death industry, which facilitates privileged merchants to prey upon the vulnerable widows and orphans, is done in the name of protecting vulnerable widows and orphans from unscrupulous merchants.

  12. I have a theory. The reason why our government is so beholden to the death industry is that these merchants practice necromancy. And truth be told, you NEVER fuck with a necromancer.

  13. IJ’s track record quite frankly leaves a lot to be desired. They totally blew the Kelo oral argument, and then turn around and pimp for donations because they won a hair-braiding case?

    Sorry, but I can find better libertarian destinations for my charitable giving.

  14. …these merchants practice necromancy.

    As long as they’re not practicing necrophilia.

  15. Much of the regulation of the death industry, which facilitates privileged merchants to prey upon the vulnerable widows and orphans, is done in the name of protecting vulnerable widows and orphans from unscrupulous merchants.

    Ah, I see. “If we let people sell you cheaper caskets, we can’t protect you from people overcharging you for caskets.”

  16. Isaac: Your devious twisting of my words is impure in nature.

    Now excuse me as I turn to my collective works of Poe.

  17. Issac,
    Unless of course it is fully consentual necrophilia.

    Wow, that’d be a heck of thing to throw into a will.

  18. “Soylent Green, man. And they ought to be paying you.”

    Isaac Bartram,
    Your “soylent” may be more a prime cut, but I think I would need to pay just to have my mangy ass shredded and spewed onto the compost pile.

  19. IJ’s track record quite frankly leaves a lot to be desired.

    I’ll agree with that, but to be fair, defending small clients against against the combination of government and business is an uphill battle.

  20. I’ve liked most of the Oklahomans I’ve met, but I do remember the old JJ Cale lyrics

    if you’re ever in Oklahoma, you’d better move around the law

    Anyway, what’s the cheapest state to get buried or cremated in?

    I wonder if the Navy charges for having your ashes chucked out to sea.

  21. The federal government has no business striking down this law.

    – Josh

  22. Maryland does the same for dentists. Only a dentist can own a dental office. If a dentist dies the widow can manage it but must make every effort to sell it. I don’t know if there is a time limit on how long the widow ( or widower) can hold on to the office.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.