The prohibition of peyote used in a religious ceremony does not violate the free exercise of religion. Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 108 L. Ed. 2d 876 (1990).

The federal Equal Access Act prohibits high schools from barring student religious club meetings on school premises when other "noncurriculum-related" clubs are allowed access. Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 292, 110 L. Ed. 2d 191 (1990).

A public school district's inclusion of prayers at a public graduation ceremony, offered by a member of the clergy at the district's request and direction, violated the establishment clause. Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 77, 120 L. Ed. 2d 467 (1992).

The denial of the use of a school building to a church seeking to exhibit a film when a nonsectarian group would have been allowed the use of the building to show a secular film on the same topic violated the right to free speech. Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches, 508 U.S. 384, 124 L. Ed. 2d 352 (1993).

A law that targets religious conduct for distinctive treatment is subject to the most rigorous scrutiny. The regulation of animal sacrifice that effectively prohibited the practices of one sect was void. Church of Lukumi v. Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 124 L. Ed. 2d 472 (1993).

The provision of an interpreter by a school district to a student attending a parochial school was permissible when provided as a part of a neutral program benefitting all qualified children without regard to the sectarian-nonsectarian nature of the school. Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills, 509 U.S. 1, 125 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1993).

Special legislation creating a public school district for a village consisting solely of members of a single religious community violated the establishment clause. Board of Education of Kiryas Joel v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687, 129 L. Ed. 2d 546 (1994).

A state university that funded the printing of a broad range of student publications but denied funding for printing the publication of a student religious group violated free speech guarantees and was not excused by the need to comply with the establishment clause. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 132 L. Ed. 2d (1995).

A school district policy permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer at school football games violated the establishment clause of the 1st amendment because it had the purpose and created the perception of encouraging the delivery of prayer at important high school events. Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 147 L. Ed. 2d 295 (2000).

Speech discussing otherwise permissible subjects cannot be excluded from a limited public forum, such as a school, on the grounds that it is discussed from a religious viewpoint. A club's meetings, held after school, not sponsored by the school, and open to to any student who obtained parental consent, did not raise an establishment of religion violation that could be raised to justify content-based discrimination against the club. Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98, 150 L. Ed. 2d 151 (2001).

The Cleveland, Ohio school choice program that provides tuition aid to parents who may use the money to pay tuition to private, religious schools does not violate the establishment clause. When an aid program is neutral with respect to religion and provides assistance to a broad class of citizens who, in turn, direct the aid to religious schools through individual choice, the program is not subject to challenge. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639, 153 L. Ed. 2d 604 (2002).

The state of Washington, under its constitution, which prohibits even indirect funding of religious instruction that will prepare students for the ministry, could deny such students funding available to all other students without violating the free exercise clause of the 1st amendment. Locke v. Davey, 541 US ___, 158 L. Ed 2d 1, 124 S. Ct. 1307 (2004).

A legislative mandate requiring reasonable accommodation of religious conduct does not violate establishment clause. Nottelson v. Smith Steel Wkrs. D.A.L.U. 19806, 643 F.2d 445 (1981).

A prison regulation allowing a cross to be worn only with a rosary discriminated against protestants, without a "ghost of reason," in violation of the right to the free exercise of religion. Sasnett v. Litscher, 197 F.3d 290 (1999).

Although the sale to private parties of a small parcel of land in a public park ended direct government action constituting endorsement of religion, the proximity of the statue to city property and the lack of visual definition between the city and private land created a perception of improper endorsement of religion in violation of the establishment clause. Freedom From Religion Foundation v. City of Marshfield, 203 F.3d 487 (2000).

A public library that allowed a wide range of uses of its meeting room by non-profit groups violated the 1st amendment by excluding the use of the room for religious services or instruction. Pfeifer v. City of West Allis, 91 F. Supp. 2d 1253 (2000).

Grants to a faith-based counseling organization that integrated religion into its counseling program were unconstitutional when there were insufficient safeguards in place to insure that public funding did not contribute to a religious end. Freedom From Religion Foundation v. McCallum, 179 F. Supp. 2d 950 (2002).

The state of Washington, under its constitution, which prohibits even indirect funding of religious instruction that will prepare students for the ministry, could deny such students funding available to all other students without violating the free exercise clause of the 1st amendment. Locke v. Davey, 541 US ___, 158 L. Ed 2d 1, 124 S. Ct. 1307 (2004).

Nyquist and public aid to private education. Piekarski, 58 MLR 247.

The role of civil courts in church disputes. 1977 WLR 904.

First amendment-based attacks on Wisconsin "attendance area" statutes. 1980 WLR 409.

Brave new world revisited: Fifteen years of chemical sacraments. 1980 WLR 879.

Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District: Creating Greater Protection Religious Speech Through the Illusion of Public Forum Analysis. Ehrmann. 1994 WLR 965.

King v. Village of Waunakee: Redefining Establishment Clause Jurisprudence in Wisconsin. Lanford. 1996 WLR 185.

How Vast is King's Realm? Constitutional Challenge to the Church-State Clause. Gordon. Wis. Law. Aug. 1995.

I,19 Religious tests prohibited. Section 19. No religious tests shall ever be required as a qualification for any office of public trust under the state, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinions on the subject of religion.

I,20 Military subordinate to civil power. Section 20. The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

I,21 Rights of suitors. Section 21. [As amended April 1977]
I,21(1) (1) Writs of error shall never be prohibited, and shall be issued by such courts as the legislature designates by law.

I,21(2) (2) In any court of this state, any suitor may prosecute or defend his suit either in his own proper person or by an attorney of the suitor's choice. [1975 J.R. 13, 1977 J.R. 7, vote April 1977]

Every person has an absolute right to appear pro se. Hlavinka v. Blunt, Ellis & Loewi, Inc. 174 Wis. 2d 381, N.W.2d (Ct. App. 1993).

A nonlawyer may not sign and file a notice of appeal on behalf of a corporation. Requiring a lawyer to represent a corporation in filing the notice does not violate the guarantee that any suitor may prosecute or defend a suit personally. A corporation is not a natural person and does not fall with in the term "any suitor." Jadair Inc. v. United States Fire Insurance Co. 209 Wis. 2d 187, 561 N.W.2d 718 (1997), 95-1946.

Sub. (2) gives the right in a civil trial to chose whether to defend oneself personally or to have an attorney, but does not address whether the party may, or may not, be ordered to be physically present at trial when represented. City of Sun Prairie v. Davis, 217 Wis. 2d 268, 575 N.W.2d 268 (Ct. App. 1998), 97-1651.

If a telephone warrant application has not been recorded and there is no evidence of intentional or reckless misconduct on the part of law enforcement officers, a reconstructed application may serve as an equivalent of the record of the original application and can protect the defendant's right to a meaningful appeal. State v. Raflik, 2001 WI 129, 248 Wis. 2d 593, 636 N.W.2d 129, 00-1086.

I,22 Maintenance of free government. Section 22. The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

I,23 Transportation of school children. Section 23. [As created April 1967] Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from providing for the safety and welfare of children by providing for the transportation of children to and from any parochial or private school or institution of learning. [1965 J.R. 46, 1967 J.R. 13, vote April 1967]

Elementary Secondary Education Act funds may be used in dual enrollment programs to transport children from parochial schools to and from public schools. 65 Atty. Gen. 126.

I,24 Use of school buildings. Section 24. [As created April 1972] Nothing in this constitution shall prohibit the legislature from authorizing, by law, the use of public school buildings by civic, religious or charitable organizations during nonschool hours upon payment by the organization to the school district of reasonable compensation for such use. [1969 J.R. 38, 1971 J.R. 27, vote April 1972]

I,25 Right to keep and bear arms. Section 25. [As created Nov. 1998] The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose. [1995 J.R. 27, 1997 J.R. 21, vote November 1998]

The state constitutional right to bear arms is fundamental, but it is not absolute. This section does not affect the reasonable regulation of guns. The standard of review for challenges to statutes allegedly in violation of this section is whether the statute is a reasonable exercise of police power. State v. Cole, 2003 WI 112, 264 Wis. 2d 520, 665 N.W.2d 328, 01-0350.

The concealed weapons statute is a restriction on the manner in which firearms are possessed and used. It is constitutional under Art. I, s. 25. Only if the public benefit in the exercise of the police power is substantially outweighed by an individual's need to conceal a weapon in the exercise of the right to bear arms will an otherwise valid restriction on that right be unconstitutional. The right to keep and bear arms for security, as a general matter, must permit a person to possess, carry, and sometimes conceal arms to maintain the security of a private residence or privately operated business, and to safely move and store weapons within those premises. State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, 264 Wis. 2d 433, 665 N.W.2d 785, 01-0056.

A challenge on constitutional grounds of a prosecution for carrying a concealed weapon requires affirmative answers to the following before the defendant may raise the constitutional defense: 1) under the circumstances, did the defendant's interest in concealing the weapon to facilitate exercise of his or her right to keep and bear arms substantially outweigh the state's interest in enforcing the concealed weapons statute? and 2) did the defendant conceal his or her weapon because concealment was the only reasonable means under the circumstances to exercise his or her right to bear arms? State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, 264 Wis. 2d 433, 665 N.W.2d 785, 01-0056.

I,26 Right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game. Section 26. [As created April 2003] The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law. [2001 J.R. 16, 2003 J.R. 8, vote April 2003]
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Wisconsin Constitution updated by the Legislative Reference Bureau. Published March 22, 2014. Click for the Coverage of Annotations for the Annotated Constitution. Report errors at (608) 266-3561, FAX 264-6948.