A Little Economic Liberty in Louisiana

IJ put out a release on their case representing monks who make caskets to support their monastery that has been targeted by funeral directors who are irritated by the competition.

The monks of Saint Joseph Abbey declared victory once again after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a blistering opinion stating that the five-year campaign of the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors to prevent the monks from selling their handmade caskets was either unconstitutional or totally unauthorized by Louisiana law. The federal appellate court took the unusual step of asking the Louisiana Supreme Court to weigh in on whether Louisiana’s funeral law actually grants the state board the power to stop casket retailing. If the answer is yes, then the law is unconstitutional. If the answer is no, then the state board has been acting lawlessly against the monks and other entrepreneurs for years.

According to the release, the state Supreme Court has to get back to them by January 22, so this should move reasonably quickly. But, as I was reading this release to Sebastian today, this is where the shocking quotes come in:

The 5th Circuit left no doubt about the invalidity of the state board’s primary constitutional argument that industry insiders and government may team up to pass laws that suppress competition and clobber consumers: “neither precedent nor broader principles suggest that mere economic protection of a pet industry is a legitimate governmental purpose.” The Court was equally harsh in rejecting the state board’s argument that judges in economic liberty cases are supposed to rubber stamp whatever the government does: “The great deference due state economic regulation does not demand judicial blindness to the history of a challenged rule or the context of its adoption nor does it require courts to accept nonsensical explanations for naked transfers of wealth.” (emphasis added)

As Sebastian said, it’s almost like the court is doing its job. I’ve posted a video that’s really just background in the case below.