Texas Hair Braiding Laws Ruled Unconstitutional By Court (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Isis Brantley operates an African hair braiding business inside a community center located in Dallas, Texas.

Brantley has been battling to braid hair going all the way back to 1997 when she was arrested for the practice (video below).

According to the Institute For Justice, which represents Brantley, said in a 2013 press release:

"In 1997, seven government officials raided her business and hauled her off in handcuffs for braiding hair without a special government license. Isis helped change that law in 2007, but Texas officials simply wedged hair braiding into the state’s barbering statute, allowing her to braid hair but making it nearly impossible for her to teach hair braiding for a living."

"...The law in question prohibited Ms. Brantley’s two-decade-old African hair braiding school from teaching students to braid hair for a living unless she first opened a barber college that was at least 2,000 square feet, and packed with at least ten reclining barber chairs that hair braiders are not even required to use, and no fewer than five sinks even though the state makes it illegal for hair braiders to provide services that require a sink."

The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled on Monday that these rules were “irrational” and “absent a rational connection with … fitness or capacity to engage in hair braiding instruction.”

Judge Sparks also ruled the law was unconstitutional and doesn't not advance public health. The judge added that hair braiding salons don’t need sinks because because washing hair is not part of braiding.

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living,” Brantley said in a statement. “This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”

Susan Stanford, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which spent taxpayer money to try to win the case in court, said the department “respects Judge Sparks’ decision.”

Sources: Associated Press, Institute For Justice
Image Credit: Institute For Justice Screenshot