Other Individual Rights

Fourth Amendment rights.  The right  to the right to earn a living.  Property rights.
WILL fights against government overreach in these areas and beyond.

Open Cases

Gymfinity v. Dane County

On November 17, one week before Thanksgiving, the Dane County Health Department issued a new health order that, among other things, banned all indoor gatherings, even in private homes, and banned all indoor sports-related activities, effectively shutting down many such businesses. This order was enabled by certain Dane County and Madison ordinances that unlawfully delegate near limitless law-making authority to the health department, authority that, we argue, can only be exercised by the Dane County Board and Madison City Council. On behalf of a gymnastics gymnasium and two Dane County residents, we filed an original action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, asking the Court to enjoin the most egregious portions of the Order and to hold that the underlying ordinances violate the non-delegation doctrine. We are currently awaiting the Court’s decision whether to take the case.

St. Augustine v. Taylor

Should government get to decide who is and who isn’t Catholic?  We don’t think so, and we filed this lawsuit seeking to stop the Friess Lake School District and DPI from treating St. Augustine – an independent school with a catholic mission – as part of the Catholic Archdiocese.

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

This landmark religious liberty case before the United States Supreme Court involves a decision by the City of Philadelphia to forbid Catholic Social Services (“CSS”) from participating in foster care services as a result of the Catholic Church’s longstanding views on marriage and CSS’s unwillingness to provide written endorsements of same-sex couples for foster care.

Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District

WILL, on behalf of a group of Madison parents, filed this action in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for adopting and implementing policies that violate the rights of district parents. The challenged MMSD policies enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and instruct district employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their son or daughter has adopted at school. These policies violate critical constitutionally recognized parental rights.

Closed Cases

Espinoza v. Montana DOR

The Montana Supreme Court struck down a popular scholarship tax credit program for violating its state constitution’s prohibition on providing any public funds, directly or indirectly, to religious institutions (private schools in this case).  We filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and rule that such “Blaine Amendments” in state constitutions are unconstitutional because they discrimination against religion.

Black v. City of Lake Geneva

The City of Lake Geneva promulgated an ordinance that allows the city to search the homes of residents who occasionally rent their home for periods of less than 29 days at virtually any time without a warrant or, alternatively, to fine them if they refuse to consent to a warrantless search. The ordinance also effectively requires such homeowners to hand over the keys to their homes to Lake Geneva, by requiring them to install a small vault with the keys, which Lake Geneva can access, on the outside of their home. These requirements violate the Fourth Amendment rights of Lake Geneva residents, including the Plaintiffs. We filed this suit to vindicate those rights.

Ibrahim v. Milwaukee

For decades, Milwaukee had an arbitrary limit on the number of taxi cab licenses issued by the city.  WILL filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit brought by the Institute for Justice, and a court struck down the cap.

Hoekstra v. City of Bayfield

Seeking to protect the local bed & breakfast owners, Bayfield passed an ordinance requiring anybody who wanted to run a B&B during the summer months to live in the city at least six months each year.  We filed a federal lawsuit because this discriminated against owners who lived (most of the time) in other states.  To settle the lawsuit, Bayfield amended its ordinance.

Gerhard v. City of Green Bay

Should cities be able to declare your garden a nuisance and destroy it without giving you the chance to argue your side?  That’s exactly what Green Bay did, and we filed a lawsuit seeking to hold them accountable.  In the end, the city settled, paying the Gerhards for their damages and attorney fees.

City of Bloomfield v. Felix

Establishment Clause jurisprudence is hopelessly muddled and unmoored from its actual constitutional text.  We filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take a Ten Commandments case to straighten it out, but the Court declined.

Smith v. Wisconsin

Wisconsin prohibits the sale of butter that has not met the approval of government taste testers, effectively banning imports such as the popular Kerrygold butter from Ireland.  On behalf of consumers and a retailer, we challenged the law, which furthers no health or safety purpose.

Milewski v. Town of Dover

Wisconsin law says if you don’t let an appraiser come inside your house, you can’t challenge your assessment, no matter how unfair it is.  We filed a lawsuit on behalf of a couple who asserted their Fourth Amendment right to refuse to consent to a government search and were punished for standing up for their rights.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the law.

Highland Memorial v. Wisconsin

Wisconsin prohibits cemetery owners from owning or operating a funeral home and vice versa.  They can’t even have a funeral home operated by somebody else on their cemetery grounds!  We think the government has no legitimate interest in limiting people’s choices this way, and we filed a lawsuit challenging the law, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court disagreed.

Krist Oil v. Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin thinks consumers need to be protected from low prices, and has passed a law prohibiting retailers from setting prices too low.  It also requires some products to be sold at a substantial markup – a hidden tax on consumers that goes straight into the pockets of business owners.  We sued to get rid of that law.

American Legion v. American Humanist Association

Establishment Clause jurisprudence is hopelessly muddled and unmoored from its actual constitutional text.  We filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to straighten the mess out and uphold a WWI war memorial in the shape of a cross.

Farmview Event Barn v. Evers

If you rent your space out and your guests bring their own alcohol to drink, should you have to get a liquor license?  We don’t think so, and interpreting the law that way puts wedding barns and similar venues at risk, so we sued to get the question cleared up.

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