Personal Liberties

Niang v. Carroll

Cosmetology cartel seeks to squash competition by African-style hair braiders

Missouri law requires African-style hair braiders to be licensed as a cosmetologist or barber. To obtain such a license, an applicant must pass a background check, undergo thousands of hours of training (costing thousands of dollars to attend special schools), and pass an exam. Neither the cosmetology nor barbering curricula teach African-style hair braiding. Ndioba Niang and Tameka Stigers are unlicensed professional hair braiders who sued the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners for violating their right to earn a living. The district court upheld the law after finding there might conceivably be legitimate purposes minimally advanced by the law. The braiders appealed and PLF filed an amicus brief supporting their claims.

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