William and Mary Law School

Professor Meese on St. Joseph Abbey v. Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors

Decision by Fifth Circuit protects liberty and consumers from crony capitalism, writes Meese in blog.

According to Ball Professor of Law Alan Meese, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit “struck a blow for economic liberty, efficiency and Professor Meeseconsumer welfare” in its decision in St. Joseph Abbey v. Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, No. 11-30756 (March 20, 2013).

Read the complete blog post.

“The decision is remarkable for at least two reasons,” notes Meese in the blog. “First … Louisiana openly and notoriously asserted the right coercively to abridge the Abbey's economic liberty for the sole purpose of enriching funeral directors at the expense of grieving consumers. Apparently Crony Capitalism is alive and well in Louisiana. Second, the Fifth Circuit expressly rejected this contention, holding that the Due Process Clause itself imposes certain restrictions on legislative goals in addition to those restrictions contained in the Bill of Rights and other constitutional provisions.  … More fundamentally and equally remarkable, today's decision seems in tension with the poorly reasoned Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1872).”

Meese, who served as a senior advisor to the Antitrust Modernization Commission from 2004-07, is a nationally acclaimed antitrust scholar. As outlined in a recent profile, his scholarship focuses on the intersection of antitrust law and policy and transaction cost economics. His work is widely cited. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.,  for instance, cited Meese's work on the Rule of Reason in a 2009 article on origin of baseball's antitrust exemption.

Meese maintains a blog devoted mainly to issues of political economy, a subject first taught in North America by Bishop James Madison, then president of the College of William & Mary.