Civitas Institute asks Supreme Court to protect entrepreneurs

Today we filed an amicus brief on behalf of an Arizona spa owner asking the Court to give her a chance to fight occupational licensure abuse:

RALEIGH – Today the Civitas Institute joins the Cato Institute in asking the United States Supreme Court to clarify its role in protecting Americans from occupational licensure abuse. In a joint amicus brief, attorneys from Civitas and Cato ask the Court to grant certiorari in Vong v. Aune — a case with the potential to put occupational licensure in the national spotlight.

Civitas attorney Elliot Engstrom joined with Ilya Shapiro, Cato’s Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, and Julio Colomba, legal associate at the Cato Institute, in asking the Court to clarify the extent to which lower courts may consider the illegitimate motives of licensing boards when evaluating constitutional claims. Should the Court take up the case, it could have significant ramifications for North Carolinians, who live under one of the most expansive licensing regimes in the nation.

The case centers on Cindy Vong, a Vietnamese immigrant and American citizen who has operated a nail salon in Gilbert, Ariz. since 2006. In 2008, she began offering a foot treatment using small Garra Rufa fish to exfoliate dead skin from the feet. The treatment was very popular with Vong’s clientele, and not a single complaint was ever filed against her. However, the Arizona Board of Cosmetology did not approve, and threatened possible civil and criminal penalties if Ms. Vong did not shut down her spa fish business — this despite the fact that the board has yet to present any evidence of even a remote risk of harm.

Read the full press release here, and view the entire amicus brief here.

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