Does the First Amendment protect interior designers?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Clark Nelly and Paul Sherman write in the National Law Journal about a ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding Florida’s law requiring an onerous licensing process before interior designers can practice their trade.

It’s a matter of free speech that “should have set off alarm bells,” Nelly and Sherman say, in that the 11th Circuit “boldly declared last March that the regulation of ‘professionals’ … direct, personalized speech with clients’ received no First Amendment scrutiny whatsoever.”

That may change if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to review the decision in Locke v. Shore. If so, it would be “the Court’s first opportunity in 25 years to provide much-needed guidance on the First Amendment status of ‘occupational speech,’ a murky area of the law that has grown increasingly important as more and more people earn their living by selling their speech.”