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).

Excluding a religious charitable organization from participation in the Wisconsin State Employees Combined Campaign solely because that organization discriminates on the basis of religion or creed in choosing its governing board and employees is constitutionally impermissible. Association of Faith-Based Organizations, 454 F. Supp. 812 (2006).

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.

Under both Hamdan and Cole there are 2 places in which a citizen's desire to exercise the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of security is at its apex: in the citizen's home or in his or her privately-owned business. It logically and necessarily follows that the individual's interest in the right to bear arms for purposes of security will not, as a general matter, be particularly strong outside those two locations. An individual generally has no heightened interest in his or her right to bear arms for security while in a vehicle. State v. Fisher, 2006 WI 44, 290 Wis. 2d 121, 714 N.W.2d 495, 04-2989.

The most natural reading of "keep arms" in the 2nd amendment is to have weapons. The natural meaning of "bear arms" is to "wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person." Putting all textual elements together, the 2nd amendment guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. However, like most rights, the right secured by the 2nd amendment is not unlimited. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. ___, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637, 128 S. Ct. 2783, (2008).

The 2nd amendment right to bear arms, is fully applicable to the states. The due process clause of the 14th amendment incorporates the 2nd amendment right recognized in Heller. However, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms. McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. ___, 130 S. Ct. 3020, ___ L. Ed. 2d ___ (2010).

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 December 1, 2020. Click for the Coverage of Annotations for the Annotated Constitution. Report errors at 608.504.5801 or lrb.legal@legis.wisconsin.gov.