Federal court strikes down protectionist law in Louisiana

July 22, 2011 | By LUKE WAKE

This week a judge ruled in favor of the monks at St. Joseph Abbey in their suit challenging a protectionist law. The monks wanted to provide for themselves by building and selling handcrafted caskets. But, “Under Louisiana law, it was a crime for anyone but a government-licensed funeral director to sell ‘funeral merchandise,’ which includes caskets.”

I’m glad to report that the Institute for Justice has succeeded in striking down the law. We will have to see whether the State will appeal the decision.

This case is similar to a case PLF won a few years ago in the Ninth Circuit in which we succeeded in establishing that a law must be struck down–even under rational basis review–if its only purpose is protectionism. However, other Circuits have held that protectionism will satisfy the rational basis test. With this split, it is possible that the Supreme Court may eventually take up this very issue.