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by
Hans von Spakovsky and Ariel Rigdon

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April 4, 2013 - 8:33 am
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The decision is a victory not only for the Abbey, but also for Louisiana residents and American citizens generally. The state denied equal protection to anyone in Louisiana who sought to sell caskets to another Louisianan without fulfilling burdensome regulatory requirements. The state also denied its citizens the opportunity to buy more affordable caskets, forcing grieving families to pay top-dollar to give a loved one an honorable burial.

The only folks who benefited from the law were the state’s funeral directors. Unsurprisingly, funeral directors and embalmers make up eight of the nine members of the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, the state licensing agency. This insulated them from competition and allowed them to mark up prices.

Unfortunately, Louisiana’s economic favoritism isn’t unusual. States have traditionally used licensing requirements that restrict competition by creating unreasonable barriers to entry.

Since the demise of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lochner v. N.Y. (1905), courts have given broad deference to state economic regulation. The Fifth Circuit acknowledged that a state can show favoritism if it is in any way rationally related to a government interest in health and safety or consumer protection. But lacking that interest, the court said, favoritism constitutes nothing more than “a naked transfer of wealth” — and the state can’t arbitrarily favor whomever it wants.

The court reasoned that “neither precedent nor broader principles suggest that mere economic protection of a particular industry is a legitimate governmental purpose.”

No level of government should be allowed to pick and choose favorites in the economic marketplace. The Fifth Circuit’s decision to bury Louisiana’s anti-competitive coffin sales restriction is a move in the right direction.

Now, if we could just get the federal government to move in the same direction.

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Hans von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow and Ariel Rigdon is part of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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Do it nationwide with Taxi's. Most cities hold medallions out to the highest bidders. That should be stopped.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For centuries, monks have earned their living by selling religious goods, such as handwritten Bibles, wafers for Lent, and caskets are no different.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Doesn't it seem like every board, commission, etc. is simply composed of representatives from whatever industry they are supposed to be regulating?

This is why the Occupy movement so infuriates me. They lamented about how intertwined government and businesses are, but simply wanted more government control over those businesses. Too many groups are too adept at bending government power to their will. Pro-business is not the same thing as pro-market.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"No level of government should be allowed to pick and choose favorites in the economic marketplace."

This is great - The Federal Government POlicy of To Big To Fail has got to go and we need to quit wasting money on GM, AIG, Solyndra etc - more commonly known as croynism and corruption.
THere has been a concerted effort by a certian Political party (Dodd, Frnak etc) to have just a few large banking entities so the Governemnt can control the banking sector more easily. A lot of small banks are much harder to control so a particular Political party - with the help of the mainstream media has forced consolidation for the sake of government control - much like they did with agribusiness subsidies and tax codes in the 60s to 90's
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Every once in a great while, sanity prevails. What a great story.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"A naked transfer of wealth." s
But we needs us some distribution of income, we needs to spread around a little...guess that only works if your a Dem or better still one of O's 'peeps.

Don't ya just love politics?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"No level of government should be allowed to pick and choose favorites in the economic marketplace."

Yes, but I don't think the 0 administration would agree. Just look at 0care.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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