Minnesota Hairbraiding

Minnesota Chapter Untangles Regulations for African Hair braiders
Anderson v. Minnesota Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners

IJ Client Lillian Anderson.

To practice their craft, African hairbraiders in Minnesota must enroll in 1,550 hours of government-mandated “training” that does not include even one hour of instruction in braiding.  They must also take State-mandated examinations that do not test for braiding skills.  Any braider who refuses to secure a government license can face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 90 days in jail.  
Minnesota’s bureaucrats leave African hairbraiders like Lillian Anderson from Minneapolis with three choices:  get licensed (costing nearly $15,000 in tuition and requiring at least 10 months of schooling and forgone earnings); quit braiding hair altogether; or operate illegally.
Lillian and two other braiders chose a fourth option:  joining with the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter (IJ-MN) to fight these arbitrary and irrational laws.  Their civil rights lawsuit challenged Minnesota’s hairbraiding licensing scheme as a violation of the braiders’ due process, privileges or immunities, and equal protection guarantees provided by the Minnesota Constitution and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  

Anderson v. Minnesota Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners was resolved by court order on June 10, 2005. The Board was permanently enjoined from enforcing its cosmetology licensing regime against hairbraiders and it was also required to publish administrative rules that exempt hairbraiders from regulation. On May 15th, 2006, the Board officially adopted new rules that free hairbraiders from State licensing requirements.

Essential Background


Background on this case

Client Photo

Latest Release: IJ-MN Chapter Celebrates Freedom for Hairbraiders While Exposing the Waste and Injustice of the Regulatory State (May 16, 2006)

Client Video - none available


Launch Release: Lawsuit Seeks to Untangle African Hairbraiders From Minnesota’s Cosmetology Regime (April 20, 2005)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Consent Judgement (June 10, 2005)


Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


April 20, 2005

Court Filed:


Hennepin County District Court



Victory: Case Closed

Next Key Date:




Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Victory for Braiders & New Law Firm: Minnesota Untangles Regulations for African Hairbraiders (June 15, 2005)

none available






Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: IJ Minnesota Chapter: First Case, First Victory, Liberty & Law (August 2005)

Article: Don't Tangle with Braiders: New Case Marks Launch of IJ’s Minnesota Chapter, Liberty & Law (June 2005)

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