The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 9 voided an 8th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that upheld previous cosmetology license requirements, although a new law had already addressed it. St. Louis Partner Jerry Hunter has worked since 2014 alongside the nonprofit Institute for Justice to have Missouri’s cumbersome cosmetology and barber licensing laws declared unconstitutional as they apply to hair-braiders.
Until recently, Missouri required hair-braiders to undergo expensive and time-consuming cosmetology schooling in order to become licensed, even though the schools don’t teach anything about hair braiding. A state law passed earlier this year says hair-braiders can become registered with the state by paying a $20 fee and watching a video about infection control and diseases of the scalp. But the Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners initially refused to make the video, thus stalling hair-braiders from using the new law.
The Supreme Court’s opinion formalizes the state law to require only a video and paid fee in order to practice hair braiding. This lawsuit was filed on behalf of Tameka Stigers, of Locs of Glory in St. Louis, and Ndioba “Joba” Niang, of Joba Hair Braiding in Florissant.
The Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner team working on this case included Paralegal Deborah Olson.