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Constitutional Law

Exam 18

30 minutes

Fact Pattern

State A prohibited any person from “engaging in the practice of dentistry unless he or she is licensed pursuant to the laws of State A.” In its definition of dentistry, the law included a variety of dental procedures meant to diagnose or treat conditions of the mouth, jaw, and teeth. The definition, however, did not include dental treatment for cosmetic purposes. As a result, non-licensed dentists within State A could perform cosmetic dentistry. 

There has been an increase in recent consumer complaints associated with these cosmetic dentistry services performed by non-professionals. Specifically, State A has growing concerns about certain teeth whitening procedures administered by non-dentists. State A has received reports of burns and avoidable allergic reactions from improperly administered treatments. The state has yet to receive any complaints, however, about similar treatments performed by licensed dentists.

To protect consumers, State A amends its health laws to include cosmetic procedures within its definition of dentistry. The amendments also include teeth whitening within the definition of the “practice of dentistry,” so that non-dentists may no longer administer this treatment under the new law. 

Z is a dental hygienist in State A who performs teeth whitening services from her own home during her off time. Z’s side business brings in a significant amount of extra money each month. The new law, however, will prohibit Z from continuing her business. 

Z sues he state, alleging that the amended law is unconstitutional under the Substantive Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 


  1. How should the court rule? Explain, focusing solely on the substantive due process issue.

Question 1

How should the court rule? Explain, focusing solely on the substantive due process issue.