Subscribe for 99¢
Hair braiding

Gloria L. Ledbetter, owner of a hair braiding business, puts extensions into Dee Dee Barnes' hair on March 2, 2001. At the time, Ledbetter was working to oppose licensing requirements for her craft. Photo by Wendi Fitzgerald of the Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS • The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated an appeals court ruling that supported a lengthy licensing process for hair-braiders in Missouri and ordered a judge in St. Louis to dismiss the case.

The original lawsuit, filed in 2014, complained that African-style hair-braiders were required to obtain a cosmetology license, which takes 1,500 hours and can cost thousands of dollars but doesn’t include any hair-braiding training.

In 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Bodenhausen upheld the requirements, and the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals agreed in January.

Earlier this year, however, Missouri eased the rules on hair- braiding, although those new rules have yet to take effect.

The Institute for Justice, which has filed suits across the country against regulation of various occupations, said the appeals court decision in the Missouri case was in conflict with other federal courts and the Supreme Court. Both the group and the Missouri attorney general asked the court to dismiss the case because of the change in the law, they said.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Tameka Stigers, of Locs of Glory in St. Louis, and Ndioba “Joba” Niang, who runs Joba Hair Braiding in Florissant. Both have performed the hourslong braiding process for years without licenses and say they fear prosecution.

Robert Patrick • 314-621-5154

@rxpatrick on Twitter

Get high-interest news alerts delivered promptly to your inbox.