Home Home

Help us celebrate! Click here to order a casket NOW!


20 March 2013

In what the Abbey's legal representatives, the Institute of Justice, call "a landmark ruling," the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous final decision in favor of Saint Joseph Woodworks, setting up what they say "could become a historic clash at the U.S. Supreme Court."

A spokesman for the Institute of Justice writes: "This is a total vindication for the monks, and a total rejection of government's five-year campaign against them, to shut down Saint Joseph Woodworks."

The Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Patrick E. Higginbotham, concluded: "The funeral directors have offered no rational basis for their challenged rule and, try as we are required to do, we can suppose none. We AFFIRM the judgment of the district court."

Saint Joseph Abbey is understandably delighted with the ruling and hopes that our supporters will celebrate by purchasing a casket! Thanks for all of your kind support.


Institute for Justice

24 October 2012
Press release from the Institute of Justice, Arlington, Va.

The monks of Saint Joseph Abbey have won again. On October 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision stating that restricting the monks' right to sell their handmade caskets was either unconstitutional or an abuse of power unauthorized by Louisiana law. The federal court asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to answer the question of whether the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors actually has the power to stop retail casket sales. If the Louisiana Supreme Court says yes, then the law is unconstitutional. If the Louisiana Supreme Court says no, then the State Board has illegally spent the past five years wasting taxpayer dollars trying to stop the monks and other entrepreneurs from selling caskets. Either way, it's win-win for the Abbey and lose-lose for the State Board.

The State Board's only hope now is that the Louisiana Supreme Court rules that the State Board has had the power to go after the Abbey, the Fifth Circuit then strikes that law down, and the State Board appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Institute for Justice assures the Abbey that they will be with them every step of the way to protect their economic liberty and that of everyone trying to earn an honest living.

Link to the full Institute of Justice web site story.
Link to court's ruling (pdf download).
Celebrate by buying a casket!


The June 7th hearing for the appeal of last year's ruling to strike down the Louisiana law prohibiting sale of funeral merchandise by any but certified members of the Louisiana Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors has generated a new round of press for our case. See the links below for more info.


"Louisiana monks go to court to sell their caskets" at The Washington Post
"Monks Fight to Sell Caskets in Louisiana" at The Wall Street Journal
"It's Illegal for Monks to Sell Caskets In Louisiana" at Bloomberg Businessweek
"St. Joseph Abbey monks oppose appeal to reinstate casket sales restriction" at The Times Picayune
"Chris Rose: Where common sense goes to die" at FOX 8 New Orleans
"Monks Challenge The State In Federal Court" at ABC New Orleans
"IS THIS GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS GONE WILD? Regulating a box? Or does this make good sense?" at GretaWire