Can columnists operate in the face of occupational licensing laws? YES

And, here we have a court correctly answering what columnists can and can’t do under free speech (of course if the licensing boards tracked down every blog and column in the US, and charged them with UPL or unlicensed Practice of Law their jobs would be never ending and they would only get a tip of the ice berg regardless.

From Ken Ditkowsky:

Judge Scolds Kentucky for Trying to Censor Parenting Columnist

Associated Press
A federal judge spanked the state of Kentucky for trying to censor a prominent parenting columnist in a First Amendment ruling handed down this week.
The Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology engaged in an unconstitutional “exercise of regulatory zeal” when it ordered syndicated advice columnist John Rosemond to stop referring to himself as a psychologist in the state, ruled U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove.
As Law Blog reported earlier, Kentucky officials accused Mr. Rosemond of giving parenting advice without a proper license. In 2013, at the behest of the state psychology board, the Kentucky attorney general’s office issued a cease-and-desist affidavit to Mr. Rosemond in response to a Feb. 2013 column he wrote.
The article, which ran in the Lexington Herald-Leader and dozens of other papers, concerned a couple who sought his advice on dealing with their “highly spoiled” underachieving teenage son. Mr. Rosemond wrote that the kid was in “dire need of a major wake-up call” and urged the parents to take away his cell phone and and driving privileges.
The state objected to Mr. Rosemond identifying himself as a family psychologist and giving individualized parenting advice, citing a law that makes it a crime to present oneself as a psychologist in Kentucky without a board-issued license. Mr. Rosemond is a licensed “psychological associate” in his home state of North Carolina. But because he’s not licensed in Kentucky, the state claimed he was engaging in “unlawful practice of psychology.”
In response, Mr. Rosemond sued, alleging that the state was violating his First Amendment rights to free speech. “It’s an outrageous attempt to limit a citizen’s right to seek advice on issues of living from whomever they choose,” he told Law Blog in an earlier interview. “I refuse to cooperate with their absurd demand.”
In Wednesday’s opinion, Judge Van Tatenhove said the speech at issue in the case deserves “the highest level of constitutional protection,” concluding that the psychology board had failed to articulate a compelling reason for curbing it.
[H]ad Rosemond represented himself to be a Kentucky-licensed psychologist or had he actually entered into a client-patient relationship in Kentucky, the outcome might be different. In the case at hand, he did not. All he did was write a column providing parenting advice to an audience of newspaper subscribers. To permit the state to halt this lawful expression would result in a harm far more concrete and damaging to society than the speculative harm which the State purportedly seeks to avoid, and perhaps that is the “wake up” call best drawn from the facts of this case.
The Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology declined to comment on the ruling.
“This case raised one of the most important unanswered questions in First Amendment law,” said Paul Sherman, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm that represented Mr. Rosemond. “That question is: Do occupational licensing laws trump free speech? The district court correctly held that they do not.”
This means all of you out there are still free to write your “legal advice”, “medical advice”, and “counseling advice” on your blogs and to your friends without some licensing board charging you with violating licensing laws.  You don’t have to be licensed to have “Free Speech”–it still is an inalienable right under the US Constitution.  The federal judge was absolutely correct on this one.
Of course, I’m not even sure this was any sophisticated therapy, but more or less common sense.  It’s no secret if you teen acts out, take away whatever privilege they cherish most–driving, cell phone, internet.  It’s not hard today to discipline a teen, they rely on so much junk they think they need to be happy.  And you don’t even need to have a fight with them to do it.  The cell phone and internet companies are happy to not charge or charge very little to just shut the darned thing off during certain hours of day or night.  No fights involved.  No pulling the circuit breaker or anything.  I know certain parents to have thrown the X box out a 2nd story window when the grades came out.  The thing was lying on the front lawn when “Johnny” got home.  Amazingly, the darned thing survived (it’s solid state, no hard drive).  So this parental advisor’s advice wasn’t even particularly controversial.

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