US appeals court rules for monks in casket fight

US appeals court rules for monks in casket fight

US appeals court rules for monks in casket fight

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court says Benedictine monks may keep selling caskets from their monastery near Covington.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge's ruling in favor of St. Joseph Abbey and against the state board of funeral directors' rule that only state-licensed funeral directors can legally sell caskets in Louisiana.

Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote, "The funeral directors have offered no rational basis for their challenged rule and, try as we are required to do, we can suppose none."

Judges Catharina Haynes and Stephen Higginson joined in the opinion.

The court had asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to decide whether the board's regulatory power extends beyond funeral homes. It said Louisiana's highest court declined to hear the case and did not say why.

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