Appeals court rules for La. monks in casket fight
NEW ORLEANS - A federal appeals court says Benedictine monks may keep selling caskets from their monastery in Louisiana.
The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 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 that the directors offered no rational basis for their rule.
An attorney for the monks calls the decision landmark. Jeff Rowes said Wednesday it's among a handful of federal appeals court decisions since the New Deal striking down economic regulations as unconstitutional.
The board referred a call for comment to its attorneys, who did not immediately respond.