• District Court Upholds Veterinarian's Constitutional Claim to License under New York Education Law 6704
  • September 5, 2008 | Authors: Pierre Georges Bonnefil; Héctor A. Chichoni; Robert S. Groban; Jang Hyuk Im; William M. Poole
  • Law Firms: Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. - New York Office ; Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. - Miami Office ; Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. - New York Office ; Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. - San Francisco Office ; Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. - Atlanta Office
  • In Kirk vs. New York State Department of Education, 2008 EL 2492268 (W.D. N.Y. 2008), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York upheld a claim that Section 6704 was unconstitutional if construed to restrict application by a foreign national for an unrestricted professional nursing license.

    New York is one of only a few states requiring veterinarians, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, and others to be citizens or permanent residents to obtain permanent licenses. Section 6704 of New York’s Education Law prohibits the issuance of a permanent veterinary license to any visiting veterinarian who is not a citizen or permanent resident. The plaintiff brought a facial constitutional challenge to this statute claiming that it deprived him of equal protection. The plaintiff was in H-1B status that was about to expire. He would have had to depart the country unless he was able to retain his ability to practice based on his green card application. The Court, through Judge Siragusa, found that this law violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, gender, nationality, and other factors.