Qui Custodiet Tōnsorēs?

by Kevin D. Williamson

Well, I suppose that’s it for Utah: total anarchy.

In a major victory for economic liberty, a federal court ruled late yesterday that Utah’s requirement that hairbraiders have a government-issued cosmetology license is unconstitutional.  Jestina Clayton [is] a Salt Lake city-based African hairbraider with more than 23 years of experience.  Along with the Institute for Justice and local counsel Maxwell Miller and Randy Grimshaw of Parsons Behle & Latimer in Salt Lake City, Jestina filed suit to fight the state’s anti-competitive cosmetology regulations. 

Under Utah law, Jestina could not be paid to braid hair unless she first spent thousands of dollars on 2,000 hours—one full year—of government-mandated cosmetology training.  But Utah never considered African hair braiding when creating its licensing scheme and has never investigated whether African hair braiding is a threat to public health or safety.  Moreover, Utah’s mandatory training is almost entirely irrelevant to African hairbraiding; Jestina would have to spend almost all of her 2,000 hours on irrelevant topics, and Utah did not even know whether African hair braiding was taught in its approved cosmetology schools. 

Hey, you didn’t braid that!

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