Texas Eyebrow Threading
Hanging by a Thread: Defending Economic Liberty in Texas
Ash Patel shouldn't need to close his business to take 1,500 hours of beauty school classes that don't even teach threading.
|Video: Hanging by a thread: defending economic liberty in Texas|
After the Institute for Justice's landmark victory before the Texas Supreme Court, eyebrow threaders in Texas are free to practice their trade without obtaining a useless state cosmetology license.
This case began in 2009, when the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) demanded that eyebrow threaders obtain expensive and irrelevant licenses in Western-style cosmetology. TDLR insisted that threaders (some of them with 20 years of experience) stop working and pay as much as $9,000 to go to private beauty schools for 750 hours. But private beauty schools do not spend even a minute teaching threading. Threaders had to quit their jobs and spend 750 hours learning every beauty technique except the one they actually use in their jobs. Threaders were also required to pass two cosmetology exams, neither of which tests threading. Still, inspectors imposed $2,000 fines on threaders who did not immediately stop working and obtain the state's useless license. This scheme certainly protected licensed cosmetologists from honest competition, but it did nothing to help consumers or small businesses.
Happily, the Texas Supreme Court struck down TDLR's actions.
In a historic opinion, the Supreme Court strongly reaffirmed that Texans have a constitutional right to work in the occupation of their choice without unreasonable government interference. The Supreme Court ruled, by a vote of 6 to 3, that it was unconstitutionally irrational for TDLR to require hundreds of hours of irrelevant training for a simple skill like eyebrow threading. The Supreme Court also made history by parting ways with federal jurisprudence and ruling that Texas courts must weigh both the reasonableness of economic regulations and the burden that those regulations impose on ordinary people.
You can read the Court's opinion, watch the oral argument and learn more about the case below.