News Release – For Immediate Release – News Release
August 9, 2023
NEW ENGLAND LEGAL FOUNDATION URGES U.S. SUPREME COURT TO RECOGNIZE THE RIGHT TO EARN A LIVING
BOSTON – The New England Legal Foundation (“NELF”) has filed an amicus, friend-of-court brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to recognize a fundamental right for Americans to earn a living.
The case arose when a social worker with more than twenty years’ experience, Ursula Newell-Davis, applied for a license to provide respite support services in Louisiana. Respite services provide temporary relief to unpaid, informal caregivers, often family members, of the elderly or persons with disabilities. In Louisiana, respite work is licensed by the Department of Health. Before a person may apply for a license, they must undergo a facility need review (FNR). The review does not evaluate qualifications; it assesses solely whether another provider is deemed to be needed in a community.
According to the Department, reducing the number of licensed providers “self-evidently” benefits the public by easing the Department’s regulatory “burden,” thereby enabling it to pay more attention to a more limited number of incumbent licensees. As a result, however well qualified, an individual may be denied the right to work in their chosen profession.
In 2020, the Department determined that there was no need for Ms. Newell-Davis’ services in the marketplace and so denied the FNR. Newell-Davis sued, alleging that the FNR requirement deprives her of the “privileges or immunities” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The case is now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.
NELF President Dan Winslow noted that “The New England Legal Foundation advocates for free enterprise, limited government based on rule of law, and inclusive growth. It is unconscionable that a government agency, to reduce their own workload, would determine the needs of the marketplace rather than allowing the free market to determine whether there is sufficient demand for Ms. Newell-Davis’ services for respite care.”
“Competition in the delivery of services is important, to ensure that patients or clients receive the best and most attentive care they can find. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule that government cannot deprive a person of their ability to earn a living. We should be encouraging and cheering for caregivers like Ms. Newell-Davis who want to apply their expertise and compassion to help other people through their darkest hours. We are proud to support her and to add our voice to others urging the right to stand tall and earn a living in America,” said Winslow.
NELF’s amicus brief was authored by Staff Attorney John Pagliaro.
About the New England Legal Foundation
Founded in 1977, the New England Legal Foundation (NELF – www.newenglandlegal.org) is the leading non-partisan, non-profit public interest law firm in the region dedicated to economic liberty. NELF’s ongoing mission is to champion free enterprise, property rights, limited government based on rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. We believe that free enterprise is a foundational value of a democratic society and the best opportunity for people to lift themselves to prosperity.