The State of Tennessee Thinks Discrimination is Fine


June 8, 2016 9:00AM

If you haven’t heard, we have filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee on behalf of our client, Memphis resident Tammy Pritchard, based on the law that requires a license to wash hair. While the state requirement of 300 hours and thousands of dollars just to wash hair is absurd, the response from the state on our lawsuit is just flat out scary.

In defense of its unfair and unconstitutional regulations on shampooing, state lawyers asked that the court throw out our lawsuit. That’s not surprising. But the language in the State’s motion is:

This is an exact quote from the response: “Much of what states do is to favor certain groups over others on economic grounds. We call this politics.”

This should seriously concern everyone. The state just argued that not only is it OK for the government to discriminate against certain people on economic grounds, it is nothing more than politics as usual. The response went on to argue that states are allowed to “engage in economic preference.”

So basically the government should be allowed to pick winners and losers, and no one should be mad about that because it’s just “politics.” Apparently, it’s completely acceptable for the State to bestow legal favors under the law to whomever it chooses. When that happens, it’s not surprising that it comes at the expense of working class people, like our plaintiff.

Well excuse me if I don’t think that discrimination (on any grounds) is part of the role of government. It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to, what gender or race you are, or what part of the country you live in, this is antithetical to everything America stands for. Whether it is discrimination against small business owners by giving their tax dollars to big corporations who also happen to be competitors, or discrimination against individuals like Tammy who don’t have the resources or the friends in government to fight back against the system, the Beacon Center is here to fight for you.

This is the reason we started our Legal Foundation in the first place, to fight against unfair government regulations on behalf of Tennesseans who don’t have the resources or capacity to fight it themselves. This state’s motion to dismiss showed us just how far we are from equality in this state, but we will continue to fight until everyone is truly treated equally and fairly under the law.

You can read the full response from the government here.