Occupational Licensing

Covered at Reason 24/7: Louisiana Monks Keep Right to Sell Caskets


Sorry, Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, your casket licensing (and monopoly) scheme appears to be heading to its grave. Damon Root reported in October that the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit had struck down a rule attempting to block a group of monks from selling their own handmade caskets.

Today a panel within the court upheld the decision. The Associated Press reports:

A federal appeals court says Benedictine monks may keep selling caskets from their monastery in Louisiana.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling in favor of St. Joseph Abbey and against the state board of funeral directors' rule that only state-licensed funeral directors can legally sell caskets in Louisiana.

A judge wrote there was no "rational basis" for the restriction.

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  1. Hmmm. Good. It is about fuckin’ time.

    Almost everyone here is pissed about the funeral business.

    I would go out to the garage and make my own coffin now, except I donated my body to LSU….they will cremate me and send me home in a shoe box for free….

    I guess I could make a tiny little coffin. Still a waste as I am sure my wife will sprinkle me in the garden and till me in.

    1. That reminds me of the conversation here about job interviews and the asinine question ‘what animal would you come back as if reincarnated…’.

      My answer….”It makes no difference what I would prefer, I am coming back as a fuckin’ tomato.”

      1. I’d come back as another human, preferably with less back hair.

        1. Human.

          Damn, you just ruined that question for all time.

          1. No worries, I’ll come back as a mountain lion and eat his reincarnated ass.

  2. Since when is there a rational basis test for law-making? I’m pretty sure that would throw out most restrictions on the books.

  3. This is why IJ gets a good chunk of my charity dollars. They actually get in the trenches and litigate, day in, day out.

    1. Indeed. They do good work, and get some of my money.

  4. Are they selling caskets because the state won’t allow them to sell Trappist ale?

    1. I’m partial to Brigittine monastic fudge as a way for monastic orders to self fund.

      …kindly don’t interpret that in any way other than “A soft rich candy made of sugar, milk, butter, and flavoring.” Thank you for your cooperation.

      1. So you’re saying the Brigittine monks are really good at packing fudge?

        …kindly don’t interpret that in any way other than “A soft rich candy made of sugar, milk, butter, and flavoring.”

        You’re not the boss of me.

        1. Sigh…

          Yes, they’re excellent fudge packers. Next time you’re in Portland I recommend making an effort to get some.

          1. Got that Loki? Next time in Portland go have the Brigittines pack your fudge.

            1. Oh, and this is why, yada, yada, yada.

  5. Sorry, Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, your casket licensing (and monopoly) scheme appears to be heading to its grave.

    Maybe they can buy a handmade casket for it from those Benedictine monks.

  6. These monks will be the last people to let you down!

    1. *narrows gaze to a slit*

      I’m watchin’ yooooou.

      1. That reminds me…

        Man originated in Africa and migrated in various directions over tens of millennia. As man moved further away from Africa, different traits evolved in order to adapt to new environments, for instance lighter skin in northern lands due to the sun. In the Andes, humans evolved to be shorter than average with barrel-like chests in order to compensate for diminished oxygen at higher altitudes. So what I have been wondering for the last few days is what cause people in East Asia to develop slanted eyes?

        Any ideas?

        1. what cause people in East Asia to develop slanted eyes?

          The lack of souls, duh.

          1. It’s a serious question, Loki.

        2. I’d heard windy steppes, but I don’t know if that’s folk ethnology or not.

        3. Well, first of all, they don’t really have slanted eyes. They just have eyelids that fold differently. Together with the prominent cheekbones, that sometimes gives an illusion of slanting.

          But my guess is random genetic drift. Not all traits have to have an adaptive purpose. Back in the Palaeolithic, when populations were very small, it would be very easy for any random mutation to spread throughout a community, as long as it did no harm. The general belief amoung anthropolgists nowadays is that most racial traits originated this way.

  7. A judge wrote there was no “rational basis” for the restriction.

    But just think of the harm that could come to people buried in non-licensed coffins!

  8. This is great! Walmart can now sell caskets in Louisiana just like they do in other states. There are many, many Walmarts in LA. Too fucking bad for you, LA funeral directors!


  9. I’m totally happy that people who aren’t harming others are allowed to continue voluntarily interacting with other people who aren’t harming others, and a state backed monopoly got the middle finger here.

    But does anybody else find the justification for the ruling , i.e. “lack of a rational” basis really shitty and troubling?

    I think that translates pretty directly into “Fuck You, that’s why?”, which in this case is actually deserved. But it kind of pisses me off that they are so desperate to avoid anything even remotely Lochnerian that this is the best they could come up with.

    Hell, make up something on the spot about Monopolies being backed by the state. The reasoning would still probably be reducto-ad-absurbable from a statist point of view, but it’d probably still be more worthy of thinking about than “Fuck You, thats why”.

  10. Dude is talking all kinds of crazy smack man.!


    1. No shit, Sump. WTF is up with that?

  11. So which states are covered by the 5th Circuit? Will this have any impact on the monopoly the funeral directors have in Oklahoma?

    1. Oklahoma is not in the 5th. I’d get to repealing those watered down beer laws first and then get to casket fixin’

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