The only way to get one of Maryland's 58 corporate funeral home licenses is to buy one from another corporation, which can cost as much as $250,000, Brown said.
After a decade of unsuccessfully lobbying the Maryland General Assembly to change the law, Brown in 2006 became one of five plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.
In 2007, a federal judge found the law violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it discriminated against companies from other states.
However, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision and reinstated the law, holding that the Commerce Clause applied to the interstate movement of physical goods, not capital and profits, according to a press release from the Institute for Justice, which represented Brown and the other plaintiffs.
Institute for Justice attorneys felt that interpretation was in conflict with Supreme Court rulings about interstate commerce, so they appealed the case to the Supreme Court, said Clark Neily, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice.
The Supreme Court on Monday denied that review.
The Supreme Court gets about 7,000 applications for review each year and takes only 60 or 70 of those, so getting the case to the Supreme Court was a long shot, Neily said.
However, the Supreme Court's decision not to review the Fourth Circuit's ruling could have serious consequences in other industries throughout states covered by the Fourth Circuit, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina, Neily said.
"Industry insiders now have a road map for how to saddle out-of-state competitors with anti-competitive business regulations like the ones at issue in this case," Neily said in a press release.
He said an economist testified during the original case that Maryland's anticompetitive regulations on funeral home ownership add about $800 to the cost of each funeral in Maryland.
Brown said he was disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to review the case, which put an end to his efforts to challenge the law in court.
Brown said he is going to have to return to lobbying Annapolis and hope he gets a different answer from those delegates that have been newly elected since his last attempt.
"You just have to keep trying," he said. "You can't quit."