Trials & Litigation

Benedictine Monks Win 'Casket Cartel' Case, Have Constitutional Right to Sell Coffins


Finding that there was no legitimate basis for a Louisiana law that makes it a crime for companies not licensed as funeral directors to sell caskets, a federal judge has struck the statute down.

The Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in St. Tammany Parish make and sell simple wooden caskets as a way to raise money for their order, and U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval of the Eastern District of Louisiana found no rational relationship between the prohibiton on coffin sales and the public “health and safety” concerns that were asserted to justify it, according to the St. Tammany News.

“It appears that the sole reason for these laws is the economic protection of the funeral industry which reason the court has previously found not to be a valid government interest standing alone to provide a constitutionally valid reason for these provisions,” Duval wrote in yesterday’s opinion.

The Associated Press also has a story and the Atlantic details at length how they won the case.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Benedictine Monks Seek Ban on ‘Casket Cartel,’ Claim Constitutional Right to Sell Coffins”

Updated on July 22 to link to subsequent Atlantic post.

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