Thursday, May 14, 2020

Hair Salon Raises Free Exercise Claims To Wisconsin COVID-19 Order As State Supreme Court Invalidates It On Other Grounds

As reported by WBAY, a suit was filed Tuesday in a Wisconsin federal district court challenging the state's "Safer at Home" order on free exercise and free speech grounds.  Plaintiff Jessica Netzel operates a faith-based hair salon.  According to the news report:
The lawsuit states Kingdom Kuts "as the name implies, is a ministry of Plaintiff Ms. Netzel. Scriptural references are placed about the business. Ms. Netzel sincerely believes that she is to share her faith with others through her work at Kingdom Kuts."
The suit also says that the order prevents plaintiff from participating in in-person worship services.

UPDATE: Here is the full text of the complaint in Kindom Kuts v. Netzel, (ED WI, filed 5/12/2020). [Thanks to Marty Lederman via Religionlaw.]

Yesterday in Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm,( WI Sup. Ct., May 13, 2020), the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision held that the state's Safer at Home order is unenforceable because it exceeds statutory authority and was not adopted in accordance with required rulemaking procedures.