Implementing North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC

CPIL’s expertise in the field of state licensing agencies has vaulted it to the national stage in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, 135 S. Ct. 1101 (2015), which recognized the inherent conflict of interest that exists when state licensing boards are largely comprised of members of the trade regulated. For the first time, the Supreme Court explicitly held that boards are not immune from federal antitrust scrutiny unless they are controlled by public members—not licensees, or the state has created a mechanism in place to actively supervise these boards to ensure they are acting for the benefit of the public, and not for the benefit of the professions themselves.

In light of the North Carolina decision, CPIL and two other consumer groups have taken the lead in urging states to implement this historic decision. Letters from CPIL to all 50 state attorneys general informed them of the impact of this decision, and requested information about individual state implementation. CPIL plans to issue a report with its findings. In California, CPIL has been at the forefront of North Carolina implementation—testifying before the legislature, and proposing a new regulatory framework to protect Californians against anti-competitive conduct by these boards, including increased public member representation on each board.