July 1, 2010
Contact: Jeff Kenney at 202-721-0220
WASHINGTON, DC--Many of NCIDQ's member boards in the United States have faced lawsuits in recent years challenging the constitutionality of regulating interior design. In May 2009, the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design was sued in federal court by a group of individuals claiming that the Florida statute unconstitutionally prevented non-registrants from calling themselves interior designers and from practicing interior design. The claim was that interior design is a purely expressive activity and therefore cannot be restricted under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment prohibition of government restriction of free speech.
The Federal Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled that regulation of the practice of interior design is in the public's interest and therefore the state can continue to regulate it. The court determined, as many previous courts have done, that the unrestricted title "interior designer" cannot be regulated as it has been widely used in the public realm. Therefore, the court ordered the state to change the regulated title, which it has done. The Board now regulates the use of the title "Registered Interior Designer" as well as continues to regulate the practice of interior design as defined in the statutes.
The plaintiffs in this case filed an appeal with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States in April, and the Florida Attorney General filed his response. NCIDQ filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in June. The case is now waiting to be scheduled with the Eleventh Circuit. Read NCIDQ's brief.
NCIDQ's mission and bylaws do not permit the organization to engage in lobbying activities; that is the mission of the professional (membership) organizations. NCIDQ does support its member board in their defense of the laws of their jurisdiction. This amicus brief was written specifically to support the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design. We will report any developments in the case in future newsletters.
You can read Federal District Judge Robert L. Hinkle's order in this case on the Florida Board's Web site.
NCIDQ® is an organization of regulatory boards and provincial associations in the United States and Canada whose core purpose is to protect the health, life safety and welfare of the public by establishing standards of competence in the practice of interior design. More information about the organization may be found at www.ncidq.org.
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