Oklahoma Interior Design

Rinehart v. State of Oklahoma
Challenging Oklahoma's Licensing of Speech For Interior Designers


IJ Clients Kelly Rinehart, Jeffrey Evans and Maria Gore with Staff Attorney Jennifer Perkins.

In Oklahoma, only individuals with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers.”

Besides unconstitutionally censoring truthful commercial speech, “titling laws” like Oklahoma’s serve as precursors to full-blown occupational licensure, which is the ultimate goal of a small faction within the interior design industry led by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).  

Only three other states besides Oklahoma license the use of the term “interior designer” without regulating the work itself.  The anti-competitive intent behind such regulations is clear: anyone who goes looking for an “interior designer” on the Internet or in the Yellow Pages in those states will find only government-licensed cartel members, while overlooking scores of capable designers like Oklahoma entrepreneurs Kelly Rinehart, Maria Gore and Jeffrey Evans. 

On September 30, 2008, the Institute for Justice filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on behalf of Kelly, Maria and Jeffrey, challenging Oklahoma’s “titling” law as a violation of free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.  The state immediately agreed to an injunction order prohibiting further enforcement of the law while the legislature worked to correct the constitutional defect.  The Governor the new bill into law in May 2009, extending our interior design winning streak to 3-0.

Essential Background



Backgrounder: Challenging Oklahoma’s Free Speech Licensing For Interior Designers


Client Photo


Client Video - none available



Launch Release: Three Oklahoma Entrepreneurs File Federal First Amendment Lawsuit Challenging Censorship (September 30, 2008)


Legal Briefs and Decisions


none available




Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit: 

September 30, 2008

Court Filed:


U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma


Victory. Challenged law amended to cure constitutional defect in May 2009.




Additional Releases


Maps, Charts and Facts

none available


Designing Cartels: How Industry Insiders Cut Out Competition




Op-eds, News Articles and Links



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