“It’s Irrational to Require 1,000 Hours of Training to Be Able to Braid Hair”

Ilya Shapiro and David McDonald describe the background of the Eighth Circuit case of Niang v. Carroll, in which Cato has filed an amicus brief:

…the Missouri Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners (an administrative board made up primarily of practicing barbers and cosmetologists, as well as the owners of in-state cosmetology/barbering schools) has declared that anyone wanting to braid hair professionally must be a licensed cosmetologist or barber—despite the fact that neither licensing program offers any training whatsoever in the [African hair-braiding] services [Ndioba “Joba”] Niang and [Tameka] Stigers intend to offer. Defended as necessary to protect Missouri’s consumers from the health, safety, and fraud risks caused by untrained hair braiders, this licensing regime is actually a thinly disguised cartel in which insiders have built up arbitrary and expensive licensing requirements in an effort to limit competition.

Pacific Legal Foundation and Goldwater Institute have also taken an interest in the Niang. case. Relatedly, Scalia/George Mason law professor recently published an article in the Yale Law Journal Forum, “The Due Process Right To Pursue a Lawful Occupation: A Brighter Future Ahead?” For decades courts reviewed occupational licensure laws under a very relaxed rational basis test under which challengers were unlikely to succeed unless they could point to, say, a violation of the Bill of Rights. “Recent precedent, however, suggests that courts are becoming more protective of what has traditionally been considered a subset of liberty of contract: the right to pursue an occupation.” Prof. Bernstein (via his Volokh blogging) also has an interview with Reason on the ideas in the piece.


  • 1000 hours of instruction in about half of the number of hours of instruction a chiropractor receives, and 2/3s of what a law student receives. So, by comparison, a 1000 hours of instruction to learn African hair braiding may not be all that unreasonable.

    • You are forgetting that none of that 1000 hours of training has anything to do with African hair braiding.

  • wait so quack chiropractors get more training than lawyers? how does that support your argument that training is necessary? lol