Rights of “embalmers and funeral directors”

July 2, 2013

  • 238 Licenses
  • 238I For Occupations and Privileges
  • 238k7 Constitutionality and Validity of Acts and Ordinances
  • 238k7(1) k. In General.

238 LicensesLicensing regulation promulgated by Board of Registration in Embalming and Funeral Directing, prohibiting an embalmer from “comment[ing] on the condition of any dead human body entrusted to his or her care,” was unconstitutionally overbroad; Board’s generalized interest in maintaining integrity of profession did not outweigh First Amendment rights of embalmers and funeral directors when acting outside of their professional capacity, and regulation at issue was in any event not sufficiently narrow to achieve that end, especially given legislative purpose of requiring embalmers and funeral directors to abstain from using “profane, indecent or obscene language” while acting in their professional capacity.
Schoeller v. Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, 977 N.E.2d 524 (Mass. 2012)
Suggested by Jonathan Zimmer, Faculty Assistant; Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.