Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Wisconsin Violated Archdiocese Rights In Excluding Clergy As COVID Precaution After Other Outsiders Were Allowed In

 As previously reported, last June a Wisconsin trial court issued a Provisional Writ of Mandamus ordering the Wisconsin prison system to allow Catholic clergy the opportunity, at least once a week, to conduct in-person religious services in state correctional institutions. Access for clergy is mandated by Wis. Stat. 301.33(1). The state had suspended visits beginning in March 2020 to minimize the spread of COVID.  Now, in Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Wisconsin Department of Corrections, (WI Cir. Ct., July 14, 2022), the same court issued a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, concluding that once the prison system allowed some external visitors to enter correctional institutions, it was required to honor the clergy's statutory privilege to do so, and refusal to do so violated plaintiff's free exercise rights under the Wisconsin Constitution. CBN News reports on the decision.