Your Right To Labor At Your Chosen Occupation

By: Keith Allison

Admittedly, I’ve been on a tear for quite a few years about how unconstitutional this nations Dental Practice Acts are as they relate to the deprivation of denturists Rights to practice their chosen occupation of denturitry. Well, as has been my bent for some time, a few days ago I was doing some more legal research and stumbled upon some very interesting settled case and/or statutory laws on the subject of citizens Rights to labor at their chosen occupations, and thought I would bring them out for public viewing. That, because I believe there are undoubtedly many other occupations that are stifled in their attempts to gain their freedom from over-reaching, unconstitutional legislation that deprives individuals of their constitutionally protected Rights. However, due to the enormous number of laws I’ve run across on this subject, and the limited space available for publication, I will only submit a few of the most relevant cases in this article.

The reader must also realize that many of these restrictive laws are brought about by their own labor unions, associations such as the American Dental Association, and any other organization bent on restricting the number of persons allowed to independently labor at any given occupation. Generally speaking, this is done for the sole purpose of the membership of these organizations being able to maintain a monopoly on their services, or to give them power over their employers.

1. 236 U.S. 1, 14, 35 S.Ct. 240 (1915): …”the principle is
fundamental and vital. Included in the Right of personal liberty and the Right of private property – partaking of the nature of each – is the Right to make contractes for the acquisition of property. Chief among such contracts is that of personal employment, by which labor and other services are exchanged for money or other forms of property. If this Right be struck down or arbitrarily interfered with, there is a substantial impairment of liberty in the long-established constitutional sense. The Rights are as essential to the laborer as to the Capitalist, to the poor as to the rich; for the vast majority of persons have no other honest way to begin to acquire property, save by working for money.”

2. 239 U.S. 33, 41, 36 S.Ct. 7 (1915): “It requires no
argument to show that the Right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity that it was the purpose of the (14th) Amendment to secure.”

3. 360 U.S. 474, 492, 79 S.Ct. 1400 (1959): … “right to hold
specific private employment and to follow a chosen profession free from unreasonable governmental interference comes within the ‘liberty’ and ‘property’ concepts of the Fifth Amendment.”

4. 418 F.3d 486, 491 (5th Cir. 2005): “The Supreme Court has
Said that ‘the Right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity that it was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment to secure,’ ‘and this Court has confirmed the principle that one has a constitutionally protected liberty interest in pursuing a chosen occupation.’”

5. Beacon Theatres vs. Westover, 252 F.2d 864, 871 (9th Cir.
1958): “This Right to protection by way of injunction against interference with property or contracts or other pecuniary Rights, has been applied so as to protect a person in his Right to earn a livelihood and to continue in employment unmolested by efforts to enforce void state statutes.”

6. City of Tucson vs. Steward, 45 Ariz. 36, 55, 40 P.2d 72
(1935): “As was said in Coffeyville Vitrified Brick and Tile Co. vs Perry, 69 Kan. 297, 76 P.848, 849, 1 Ann. Cas. 936, 66 L.R.A. 185: “The Right to follow any lawful vocation, and to make contracts is as completely within the protection of the Constitution as the Right to hold property free from unwarranted seizure, or the liberty to go when and where one will. One of the ways of obtaining property is by contract. The Right therefore to contract cannot be infringed by the Legislature without violating the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Every citizen is protected in his Right to work where and for whom he will.”

7. Weatherby vs. Pittman, 24 Ga. App. 452, 101 S.E. 131
(1919): “The Right to work and make a living is one of the highest Rights possessed by any citizen. It may be abridged to the extent, and only to the extent, that is necessary, reasonable and to insure the public peace, safety, health, and like words of the police power.”

8. Scully vs. Hallihan, 365 Ill. 185, 191, 6 N.E. 2d 176, 179
(1936); City of Osceola vs. Blair, 231 Iowa 770, 772, 2 N.W., 2d 83 (1942): “It is one of the fundamentals of our… form of government that every citizen has the inalienable Right to follow any legitimate trade, occupation or business which he sees fit. His labor as his property, is entitled to the full and equal protection of the law under the Due Process Clause of the Federal Constitution. It is also embraced within the constitutional provision guaranteeing to everyone liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Allgeyer vs. Louisiana, 165 U.S. 578, 41 L.Ed. 832). This Right to pursue any trade or calling is freedom of action by statutory regulation where the public health, safety or welfare of society may require.”

9. State vs. Harrington, 229 Iowa 1092, 1096, 296 N.W. 2221,
223 (1941): “The Right to follow any of the common occupations of life, subject only to the reasonable regulations under the police power in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare.”

10. State vs. Chisesi, 187 La. 675, 685, 175, So. 453
(1937): “Banjavich vs. Louisiana Licensing Board for Marine Divers, 237 La. 467, 111 So.2d 505, 511 (1959): “To deprive a person of his Right to pursue his chosen calling deprives him of his liberty, and to prevent his continuing in a lawful business or pursuit in which he is already engaged deprives him of his property.”

11. West vs. Winnsboro, 252 La. 605 211 So.2d 665 (1967):
“The Right to pursue employment or to conduct a business is a property Right which equity will protect. The protection extends to any substantial interference produced by unconstitutional legislation.”

12. Kusnetzky vs. Security Ins. Co., 313 Mo. 143, 157, 281
S.W. 47 (Mo. 1926): “It is not within the power of the Legislature to forbid a man to transact any business otherwise perfectly lawful.”

In short, the only constitutionally justifiable limitation on a man’s Right to labor at his chosen occupation by restrictive government legislation, regulation, orders, etc., is that the occupation must represent some form of potential for harm to someone. Failure to meet that criteria leaves the law, regulation, order, etc., in a quagmire as an unconstitutional restriction on a person’s Right to labor at his/her chosen occupation.

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