New Mexico Interior Design

Sherry Franzoy and Caryn Armijo v. Barbara Templeman
Defeating New Mexico's "Titling" Law

IJ Client Sherry Franzoy

New Mexico interior designers are now protected from the state’s interference in their business and speech, thanks to the Institute for Justice’s successful challenge to the state’s “title” restriction. The title law prevented individuals who practice interior design from calling themselves interior designers unless they first obtained an expensive and increasingly difficult-to-secure government license.

Importantly, the law did not prevent anyone from working as an interior designer. Instead, the law achieved its anti-competitive purpose by dictating who could call themselves “interior designers” or use the term “interior design” to describe what they do. Such “titling laws” are part of a larger effort by certain members of the interior design community to suppress competition by suffocating would-be competitors with government regulations.

On September 7, 2006, IJ filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on behalf of two entrepreneurs challenging the New Mexico Interior Design Board’s censorship law as a violation of free speech rights protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. New Mexico declined to defend its blatantly unconstitutional law, and instead asked the legislature to amend the title law so that it would no longer interfere with the First Amendment. The amendment successfully passed into law, and the Institute dismissed its lawsuit on August 13, 2007.

Essential Background


Backgrounder: Challenging New Mexico’s Licensing of Speech For Interior Designers

Client Photo - none available

Latest Release: New Mexico Ends Unconstitutional Censorship of Interior Designers (April 6, 2007)

Client Video - none available


Legal Briefs and Decisions

Launch Release: New Mexico Interior Designers File First Amendment Lawsuit, Take on State’s “Titling” Law (September 7, 2006)

Institute for Justice Complaint






Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


September 7, 2006

Court Filed:


U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

Key Dates:


April 3, 2007: New Mexico Governor signs legislation amending title law

August 13, 2007: IJ dismissed lawsuit following effective date of legislation amending New Mexico’s title law to allow interior designers to truthfully describe themselves and their services




Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: New Mexico Legislature Should Eliminate Discriminatory Law and Useless Licensing Board, says Civil Rights Law Firm (January 25, 2007)

Study: Designing Cartels: How Industry Insiders Cut Out Competition

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: BIG RESULTS small investments; Liberty & Law (August 2007)

Article: George Will: Wallpapering with red tape, Washington Post (March 22, 2007)

Article: Designing CartelsLiberty & Law (December 2006)

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