What is taking the bar exam like? Dying.
It is the end of July.
This means that for many unlucky law school graduates they are about to take the bar exam (or are recovering from just taking it).
A week before my bar exam, I developed sudden onset TMJ. I made an emergency appointment with a dentist I’d never seen before. The dentist turned out to be overly flirty and loose with scripts; he prescribed Valium, Percocet, and Vicodin.
Immediately after taking the test, all of the symptoms of TMJ disappeared. I passed the bar. And I never went back to see that dentist again.
I always thought that the bar exam would be more tolerable if it had more interesting questions and fact patterns.
Leave it to the great state of Louisiana to make the bar exam entertaining and appropriately morbid.
From last year’s LA Bar Exam, for 35 points:
A fatal accident occurred in Alabama when coffins heading toward Louisiana fell from a truck. In response to the accident, during the next legislative session, Louisiana legislators passed laws, nicknamed the “DOA laws.” Because tourists are captivated by the unique cemeteries and funeral traditions within Louisiana, legislators reformed several other aspects of the funeral industry to preserve this culture. Louisiana owns several public cemeteries.
The statutes provided, inter alia, that “the body of a deceased person cannot be displayed or buried in Louisiana unless the body is placed within a certified coffin purchased from a licensed manufacturer.” The statute detailed the required specifications for coffins to qualify for certification: (1) The coffin must be produced from more than just plain wood; (2) must contain at least minimal metal decoration/ornamentation on the exterior; and (3) must have 90% of the materials for the coffin originating from Louisiana suppliers. The DOA also detailed the requirements for licensing coffin manufacturers, which included being physically located within
Louisiana or, alternatively, owning a plane to transport coffins. The statute placed a tax on coffins transported by unlicensed manufacturers within the state. The statute authorized an agency to issue licenses, to collect the tax, and to oversee the industry.
Albert and Bart Cane own a full-service funeral business, called Canes Final Affairs, Inc., (CFA) in Waveland, Mississippi. CFA manufactures and sells coffins, provides burial plots, and provides other funeral products and services. Its coffins are produced in Mississippi. Because coffin manufacturers did not return in Slidell and New Orleans East after Hurricane Katrina, CFA sells coffins to many funeral homes in those areas. Between 2005 and 2009, Louisiana sales comprised most of CFA’s business. CFA typically can transport coffins by truck within an
hour or less to reach the majority of the funeral sites it services in New Orleans and Slidell.
Business was so good that it executed a contract with the Best Wishes Funeral Home in SlidelI to serve as the exclusive coffin supplier until 2014.
CFA’s coffins do not meet the DOA specifications for certification because only 50% of its materials are from Louisiana suppliers. CFA’s application for a DOA license is denied after proper notice, hearing, and appeal. CFA is not physically located in Louisiana, and it does not own a plane to transport its coffins.
After the DOA laws were effective for a few months, the Canes realized that the laws had significantly reduced its profits. Funeral homes that previously ordered from CFA now ordered from the Labats, a Louisiana family who owns a full-service funeral business in Shreveport, even though the delivery time was much longer. Further, the DOA laws prohibit the Best Wishes
Funeral Home from purchasing coffins from CFA although the contract required it to do so.
The Canes have come to you for advice on how to challenge the DOA laws. They have waived any potential conflicts.
What constitutional arguments can the Canes raise to challenge the DOA laws? (35 points)
Include an explanation of any potential weaknesses in the arguments.
DO NOT DISCUSS ANY SUBSTANTIVE OR PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS OR
EQUAL PROTECTION ARGUMENTS IN THIS ANSWER.
Hat tip: Benjamin V.
Bonus Video: “Jazz Funeral” for Kerwin James. The action picks up at the 2:00 mark.
Photo Credit: The Ninth