The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a North Carolina state dental board does not have the authority to regulate teeth-whitening services, accepting the federal government’s claim that the system is anticompetitive because dentists sit on the panel.
The court, on a 6-3 vote, ruled for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which had decided that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners could be subject to antitrust claims.
The justices, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, agreed with the government's claim that although state entities are usually exempt from federal antitrust laws, the exemption did not apply because the board was not actively supervised by the state and that it was made up of self-interested private businesses.
Kennedy wrote that the exemption "does not authorize the states to abandon markets to the unsupervised control of active market participants."
The case is North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-534.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)