Nanny State

Texas Interior Designers Don't Have to Shut Up


Interior designers can say whatever they want, acoording to the Fifth Circuit, in a ruling[PDF] this week. They can say, "Aqua and teal look great together," or "I think a camouflage-themed room would be fabulous," or "what you need here is some shag carpeting." They can even say "I am an interior designer," which they were forbidden from doing (in Texas and many other states) without a degree and a license. It's called commercial speech and it's protected too, baby.

From the court's reasoning:

The State advances a circular argument that the speech inherently tends to mislead consumers. It runs: Texas created a licensing regime; therefore, unlicensed interior designers who refer to themselves as interior designers will confuse consumers who will expect them to be licensed. The descriptive terms "interior designer" and "interior design" are not, however, inherently misleading. They merely describe a person's trade or business. The terms can be employed deceptively, for example if a person does not actually practice interior design, but the speech is neither actually nor inherently misleading. This argument also proves too much, as it would authorize legislatures to license speech and reduce its constitutional protection by means of the licensing alone.

That explains this, of course:

Reason has been all over this story, here, here, and here:

Via alert reader Andrew Craig and Volokh