Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(UPDATE) IJ again! Or: A casket for Louisiana cronies!

Related: IJ has taken on another funeral industry related case, this time in Minnesota.  In this instance, a small funeral parlor owner is facing a state law that mandates he has an embalming room on his premises despite the fact that he outsources that function.  From an excellent summary of the case by the folks at The Objective Standard:
Stoll’s fees start at “just $250, about one-tenth the city’s going rate. No hearse, no chapel, just simple service for working-class folks who can’t afford to spend a lot of money to die. His no-frills business has been so successful that he wants to expand, opening a second parlor.”  The problem is that state law requires Stoll’s new parlor to include an embalming room, even though he outsources embalming procedures and thus doesn’t need such a room. Building the useless room would cost $30,000 and require Stoll to raise his fees.

Original post:  This is a post I was dying to write (ok, bad joke, but couldn't resist!).  Once again, the awesome libertarian civil liberties organization Institute for Justice provided justice for victims of cronyist policies.  This time the place was Lousiana and the bad guys were casket makers that didn't like Bendictine monks selling their unpretentious caskets.  From the WSJ article by two of the IJ lawyers involved:
That's when their ancient ways collided with modern America. The monks had not sold a single casket before the Louisiana State Board of Funeral Directors—acting on a complaint from a government-licensed funeral director—shut them down. In Louisiana, the government had made it a crime to sell caskets in the state without a license. To do so, the monks would have had to transform their monastery into a funeral home, including building an embalming room, and at least one of the monks would have had to leave the order to spend years becoming a licensed funeral director. All of that just to sell a wooden box.
The authors also point out that this case may end up being considerably more important than in just its local effects since it may well end up in front of the US Supreme Court.  Read this important, and uplifting, article