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Jennifer is Co-host of The Story of Liberty Radio Broadcast, video editor and creator, blogger & Web designer for the Story of Liberty. TheStoryofLiberty.net

Occupational licensing abuse gets a pass from the high court.

Why does the Supreme Court keep refusing to protect economic liberty? On Monday, the Court declined to hear a powerful legal challenge filed by the Institute for Justice against the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2011 decision upholding Florida’s requirement that all interior designers carry an occupational license from the state. Not only do 47 other states currently permit unlicensed interior design without any accompanying risk to innocent civilians, Florida’s own attorney general’s office even admitted in a joint pretrial stipulation that “neither the defendants nor the state of Florida have any evidence that the unregulated practice of interior design presents any bona fide public welfare concerns.” This isn’t unlicensed brain surgery, after all. So why did the 11th Circuit let this blatantly unnecessary law stand? “A statute survives rational basis review even if it ‘seems unwise…or if the rationale for it seems tenuous,’” the 11th Circuit declared.

It gets worse. For the past seven decades, federal judges have largely followed the disastrous template set by the Supreme Court in the case of Nebbia v. New York (1934), which upheld the conviction of a New York shopkeeper for selling two quarts of milk and a loaf of bread for less money than the official minimum price set by the state’s Milk Control Board. Despite the fact that this price-fixing scheme did nothing to protect the health or safety of the milk-drinking public, and was instead simply a protectionist measure aimed at propping up the state’s dairy farmers during the Great Depression, the Supreme Court upheld the law. “A state is free to adopt whatever economic policy may reasonably be deemed to promote public welfare, and to enforce that policy by legislation adapted to its purpose,” Justice Owen Roberts wrote for the 5-4 majority.

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