Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. At issue is whether that state board—which is comprised almost entirely of licensed dentists—engaged in illegal anticompetitive practices by preventing non-dentists from performing teeth-whitening services. Last week, a group of 45 leading economists filed a friend of the court brief urging the Supreme Court to rule against the state board. "When self-interested economic actors—such as licensed dentists—are given the power to influence or, as in this case, actually write the rules by which others will compete with them," the brief observes, "they behave as self-interested private actors, rather than as stewards of the public interest."
Meanwhile, at The Washington Post, George Will argues that this case provides the Supreme Court with a rare opportunity to champion economic liberty against government overreach. "If the court directs a judicial scowl at North Carolina's State Board of Dental Examiners," Will writes, "the court will thereby advance a basic liberty—the right of Americans to earn a living without unreasonable government interference."
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