A Broken Cartel

As a matter of principle I am opposed to most government regulation of business. It has yet to be shown that government regulations even routinely achieve their goals or work to the best interest of consumers. So I was encouraged when the US District Court for the District of Maryland used one of the many cozy restrictions on business so popular in Maryland as a pinata.

In a scathing opinon, Judge Richard Bennett ruled against Maryland’s law banning the corporate ownership of funeral homes.

Consumer protection is obviously a legitimate interest, but Defendants have offered almost no evidence demonstrating that corporate funeral homes pose a discrete risk to the public, and that the corporate prohibition in any way furthers consumer protection. On the contrary, it is quite clear to this Court that Maryland consumers have been harmed by the corporate prohibition of the Morticians Act by being forced to pay funeral prices well in excess of the national average.

We all know why laws like this exist. They are simply restraints of trade tarted up as customer protection which enrich some small number of people at the expense of the rest of us. Most cities have this problem with hack licenses. Baltimore County has this problem with tow truck companies, a restriction the County Council has perversely insisted upon retaining.

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Marylanders should not have to rely upon the federal courts to remind the General Assembly that the Constitution applies to the Free State as well as to the rest of the nation.

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