Arizona Vet Board’s war on horse massagers

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Tim Keller
Executive Director, Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter
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      Tim Keller

      Tim Keller serves as the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter’s executive director. He joined the Institute as a staff attorney in August 2001 and litigates school choice, economic liberty, and other constitutional cases in state and federal court.

      Tim successfully defended Mesa brake shop owner Randy Bailey, when the City sought to take his property through eminent domain so it could hand the property over to the owner of an Ace hardware store. He also helped author Arizona’s landmark property rights protection initiative, Proposition 207. He led the Institute’s defense of Arizona’s individual scholarship tax credit program in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, which culminated in a United States Supreme Court victory. Tim is also the Institute’s lead counsel defending Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account Program, a publicly funded education savings account program designed to rescue special needs children who were relying on Arizona’s state-funded tuition grant programs that were struck down in 2009 by the Arizona Supreme Court.

      In addition to his courtroom advocacy, Tim has earned a string of victories in the court of public opinion, challenging bureaucrats and forcing them to back down. Among these victories was his work on behalf of Christian Alf, a teenager from Tempe, Ariz., who sought to help senior citizens rat-proof their home by bending wire mesh around any openings. Until Tim stepped in on Alf's behalf, an Arizona state agency had demanded the young entrepreneur secure an exterminator's license.

      Tim’s legal strategy is to fight for people’s civil liberties not only in the court of law, but also through legislation and the media.

      Tim currently serves on the board of the Phoenix Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society, is a volunteer lawyer with the Arizona Center for Disability Law, and is an Assistant Scout Master with his oldest son’s Boy Scout Troop. He received his law degree from Arizona State University where he was the president of the Arizona State Federalist Society chapter and a member of the National Moot Court team. Before that, he earned his bachelor's degree in Economics from Arizona State University, graduating magna cum laude. Prior to starting law school, Tim worked as a research assistant at the Goldwater Institute, a state-based free market public policy organization.

      Upon graduation from law school, Tim clerked for the then-Presiding Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court, Robert D. Myers. After leaving the Superior Court, Tim accepted a clerkship with the Honorable Ann A. Scott Timmer on the Arizona Court of Appeals. Tim and his wife Lisa have four sons, Daniel, Benjamin, Ethan, and Noah. He spends his free time taking care of his family, teaching Sunday school, and reading a book a week.

Absent judicial enforcement of constitutional limits on government power, we are left to rely on the self-restraint of public officials. And Arizona’s experience has shown that this is no restraint at all.

The Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to protecting economic liberty, has repeatedly filed lawsuits in Arizona challenging similar violations of the right to earn an honest living. To date, those lawsuits have resulted in significant public backlash against unreasonable government regulation, causing the challenged occupational boards to back down and allow African hairbraiderseyebrow threaderslandscape maintenance workers, and handymen to offer their services without having to first obtain a government permission slip to work.

The Vet Board’s aggressive actions against animal massage therapists suggest it will not back down any time soon. And that is fine with Celeste — because it is time for the courts to declare that the government cannot take someone’s job away for no good reason.

To learn more about this lawsuit, visit ij.org/AZmassage.

Tim Keller is the executive director of the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter and represents Celeste Kelly and others in the lawsuit filed today against the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board.