Occupational Licensing

Federal Judge Strikes Down Utah's Bogus Licensing Scheme for African Hairbraiders


Jestina Clayton

Great news out of Utah, where the Institute for Justice successfully convinced Judge David Sam of the United States District Court for the District of Utah to strike down that state's occupational licensing scheme requiring African hair braiders to acquire an expensive and unnecessary government cosmetology license before plying their trade. In addition to the fact that "the legislature never considered African hair braiding when creating its licensing scheme," Judge Sam declared, "the State has never investigated whether African hair braiding is a threat to public health or safety." In other words, the government was unable to provide any sort of legitimate justification for requiring African hairbraiders to spend thousands of dollars on a year's worth of useless state-approved cosmetology classes. As the decision put it:

Utah's cosmetology/barbering licensing scheme is so disconnected from the practice of African hairbraiding, much less from whatever minimal threats to public health and safety are connected to braiding, that to premise [plaintiff Jestina Clayton's] right to earn a living by braiding hair on that scheme is wholly irrational and a violation of her constitutionally protected rights.  "[T]he right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity" that the Constitution was designed to protect.

It's nice to see the federal courts recognizing that the Constitution does indeed protect the right to earn an honest living.

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  1. Wait, there are black people in Utah?

    1. Several, apparently.

    2. Both of them are thrilled by the ruling.

  2. Since when does the government have to provide legitimate justification for making people spend thousands of dollars on useless shit?

  3. Nice, but really should apply to all barbers.

  4. I understand the point of licsensing schemes (to keep out the cheap competition), but I wonder what the public reason for this particular scheme is. Are hair salons really a hot bed of public health problems? There’s nothing invasive ever being done. Is it for the shampooing? Using scissors and a comb at the same time? Coloring and using chemical straighteners?

    1. *licensing

    2. I wonder what the public reason for this particular scheme is.


    3. You need years of training to deal with the EPA regs regarding the BLUE LIQUID.

      1. Ah. I *wondered* whatever became of Barbi Benton.

      2. Barbicide or Marvicide? These are decisions only a highly trained hair stylist can make.

    4. Razor sharp blades sweeping within millimetres of your skull and you don’t think it’s invasive?

      Plus they totally fucked up my Justin Bieber haircut at Great Clips last time, I wound up looking like Rowan Atkinson. Someone has to look out for the interests of consumers.

      1. Generally the descriptor “razor sharp” applies to things other than razors, Tulpa.

        Just want to help you out there.

        1. I wasn’t talking about razors.

      2. Look up invasive.

        Also, does it really require months of training to use a razor? Couldn’t you learn over a couple of weekends (at most)?

        1. Pretty sure Tulpa was being sarcastic in this case.

          1. I agree.

            But you never know with Tulpi-poo.

  5. When it comes to policy in places other than where we live, we shouldn’t use the courts to force personal freedom down the throats of everyone else. We should live and let live and respect federalism by allowing every state and local government to not allow its citizens to live and let live.

    1. I look forward to the Obama campaign denouncing the dangerous regulatory rollback that allows Big Cornrow to get away with fleecing our African-American communities.

    2. No, the Constitution is not limited to protecting us from the Federal Government and in any case we are born with our rights no matter where we are born.

    3. You’re right – a one-size-fits-all World Government would be much better.

      1. I’d be OK with world govt as long as it were based on the US Constitution.

        1. Cause there’s such a good track record of it being followed in THIS country, I’m sure that would only get even better once we implemented it on a world-wide basis.

  6. This will certainly be overturned on appeal. It’s far too rationale to survive the rationale basis test.

    1. Well, given the makeup of the Supreme Court, Utah might be better off with an African Braid exception rather than risking the whole kaboodle giving 5 conservative justices the ability to rewrite the rational basis test with a case that screams stupid government horseshit.

  7. Talk like that? From a federal judge? I am impressed.

  8. It’s nice to see the federal courts recognizing that the Constitution does indeed protect the right to earn an honest living.

    You have a different copy from mine, apparently. The Ninth Amendment giveth and taketh away. If you treat it as a rights ATM for the “right to make an honest living”, don’t come crying to me when the left makes a rights withdrawal for a “right to health care” and a “right to college education.”

    1. Freedom of contract is pretty basic, and a negative right, Tulpa.

      1. Because courts are free!

        1. There is a difference between having a court enforce a contract and the government directly interfering in a consensual transaction between two individuals because one of them doesn’t have the state’s permission to participate in the transaction.

      2. There’s nothing in the Ninth limiting it to negative rights. It’s a panda’s box in the making (and in my opinion, is already open with Griswold and Roe).

        1. Panda’s box?

          1. It’s like Pandora’s box, but CHINESE, and it’s powers are envied by Thomas Friedman.

            1. Thread winner.

  9. OT, but related:
    “Fannie Regulator May Seek to Block Eminent Domain Seizures”
    From the article: “The Federal Housing Finance Agency has “determined that action may be necessary on its part to avoid a risk to safe and sound operations at its regulated entities, and to avoid taxpayer expense,” the regulator said today in a statement.”

    They left out another quote from the FHFA:
    “Is this an acorn? I can’t see”.

  10. More OT; what the hell…
    The Chevron refinery in Richmond CA had a fire yesterday.
    Note: The refinery began operation in 1902 in marshland; the city of Richmond was incorporated in 1905. Can’t find any clear indications, but it appears the housing was drawn to the area as a result of the job opportunities.
    Regardless, the housing is among the cheapest in the Bay Area simply because it largely abuts a refinery, which is subject to accidents and plain old stink.
    So, in response to the fire, one resident says:
    “I want enough money so we can move someplace with clean air,” said Monica Marquez, 28, a stay-at-home mother of four who said she and her kids are suffering from wheezing and headaches since Monday’s fire. “I’ve lived here my whole life, but I’ve had enough. We need to get out and right now we can’t afford to.”
    Yeah, well, I’d like a nice sea-front property in Malibu, too.

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