Individual Liberties

WILL proudly fights for individual liberties guaranteed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Open Case

B.F. v. Kettle Moraine School District

 

Two sets of Wisconsin parents are suing the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a policy that facilitates and “affirms” a minor student’s gender transition at school, even over the parents’ objection. The lawsuit was filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Filed: November 2021

Open Case

Sebring v. MPS

WILL filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on behalf of a Milwaukee resident challenging a Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) union leave policy. Under this policy, MPS pays public employees full wages and benefits to engage in union-related activities instead of the jobs they were hired for at the school district.

Filed: July 2021

Open Case

Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Wisconsin Department of Corrections

 

WILL filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) and its Secretary, Kevin Carr, after the state agency refused to adjust an unconstitutional visitor policy that prevents in-person clergy visits to Wisconsin correctional facilities.

Filed: May 2021

Open Case

Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District

 

WILL filed this action in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for adopting and implementing policies that enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and instruct district employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their son or daughter has adopted at school.  

Filed: February 2020 

WILL Victory

Cohoon v. Konrath

 

WILL filed the lawsuit on behalf of Amyiah Cohoon, a teen from Oxford, Wisconsin, who was threatened with arrest for posting that she had COVID-19.

Filed: April 2020 

Open Case

St. Augustine v. Taylor

 

Should government get to decide who is and who isn’t Catholic?  We don’t think so, and we filed this lawsuit seeking to stop the Friess Lake School District and DPI from treating St. Augustine – an independent school with a catholic mission – as part of the Catholic Archdiocese. 

Filed: April 2016

Amicus

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

 

WILL amicus brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to provide robust protections to religious adherents by overturning Employment Division v. Smith, a case that made it difficult for those who object to laws that require them to violate their consciences to obtain relief in court.

Filed: June 2020

Closed Case

Gymfinity v. Dane County

 

An original action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on behalf of a Dane County business owner and two Dane County residents, asking the Court to halt the recent ban on all private gatherings in homes and on all indoor sports activities from Public Health Dane and Madison, the Dane County health department.

Filed: November 2020

WILL Victory

Hunter Nation v DNR (2020)

 

WILL filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin DNR after the agency adopted a policy, illegally, that cancels all in-person hunter education courses in Wisconsin as a result of COVID-19.

Filed: June 2020

WILL Victory

Letter to Gov. Evers on Drive-Up Easter Services

 

WILL and attorney Michael Dean issued a letter to Governor Tony Evers requesting that he clarify, correct, and restrain local government officials who are using Emergency Order #12, the “Safer at Home” order, to ban drive-up religious services conducted in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

Filed: April 2020

Amicus

Speech First v. Killeen

 

This case involved a challenge to certain anti-speech policies at the University of Illinois and the use of a University “bias response team.” WILL Filed an amicus brief to oppose those policies to point out that surveillance of a protected activity by a direct authority opposed to that activity is inherently coercive; to note two recent examples showing that students have good reason to fear retaliation from a team of university officials dedicated to monitoring speech they oppose; and to show the prevalence of “bias response teams” in Wisconsin.

Filed: November 2019 

Closed Case

Jarchow v. State Bar of Wisconsin

 

Should the government be able to force attorneys to join and pay dues to an organization that takes positions they vehemently disagree with?  We don’t think so, and we filed a federal civil rights lawsuit to prove it.

Filed: April 2019 

Amicus

American Legion v. American Humanist Association

 

Establishment Clause jurisprudence is hopelessly muddled and unmoored from its actual constitutional text.  We filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to straighten the mess out and uphold a WWI war memorial in the shape of a cross.

Filed: June 2018

WILL Victory

Olsen v. NWTC

 

Can a public college stop its students from handing out Valentines?  Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College thinks so – and it thinks it can restrict the First Amendment to a tiny “free speech zone” on campus.  We think that’s unconstitutional, and filed a federal lawsuit to fix the problem.

Filed: September 2018

Amicus

Lair v. Mangan

 

Can the government set campaign contributions so low that they effectively prevent political participation?  We don’t think so, and so we filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Montana’s rock-bottom limits.

Filed: 2018 

Amicus

City of Bloomfield v. Felix

 

Establishment Clause jurisprudence is hopelessly muddled and unmoored from its actual constitutional text.  We filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take a Ten Commandments case to straighten it out, but the Court declined. 

Filed: 2017

WILL Victory

McAdams v. Marquette

 

Marquette guarantees its professors full academic freedom and First Amendment rights.  Yet it indefinitely suspended – without pay – Professor John McAdams, a tenured conservative professor, because he criticized a graduate student instructor who told a student his opinions on gay marriage were homophobic and could not be voiced in her class.  We sued Marquette University, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that it breached McAdams’ teaching contract.

Filed: May 2016

WILL Victory

Gerhard v. City of Green Bay

 

Should cities be able to declare your garden a nuisance and destroy it without giving you the chance to argue your side?  That’s exactly what Green Bay did, and we filed a lawsuit seeking to hold them accountable.  In the end, the city settled, paying the Gerhards for their damages and attorney fees.

Filed: July 2015

WILL Victory

Milewski v. Town of Dover

 

Wisconsin law says if you don’t let an appraiser come inside your house, you can’t challenge your assessment, no matter how unfair it is.  We filed a lawsuit on behalf of a couple who asserted their Fourth Amendment right to refuse to consent to a government search and were punished for standing up for their rights.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the law.

Filed: July 2014

Amicus

John Doe Litigation

 

Wisconsin prosecutors engaged in a partisan witch hunt, targeting conservative political and issue groups and alleging that they illegally “coordinated” with the Scott Walker campaign.  We filed amicus briefs in a number of related cases standing up for the right of people to communicate with their elected officials without losing the right to speak on political issues.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed and shut down the investigation.

Filed: February 2014

Amicus

McCutcheon v. FEC

 

In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal aggregate campaign contribution limits, concluding that prohibiting donors from donating to as many candidates as they wanted (within individual limits) violate the First Amendment.  WILL filed an amicus brief arguing that the Court should stop giving more deference to contribution limits than to independent expenditure limits.

Filed: February 2014

WILL Victory

Milwaukee v. Laur

 

The First Amendment protects the right of people to use public spaces to engage in free speech.  We successfully defended a street preacher from a municipal trespassing ticket.

Filed: August 2013

Amicus

Milwaukee Police Association v. City of Milwaukee

 

Milwaukee refused to follow a law banning municipalities from imposing residency requirements on their employees.  We filed an amicus brief urging the supreme court to take the case.  When it did, we filed an amicus brief on the merits, and the court agreed with us. 

Filed: July 2013

WILL Victory

Young v. GAB

 

Wisconsin had aggregate campaign contribution limits even lower than the federal limits.  When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal limits in the McCutcheon case, we filed this case and overturned the state limits.

Filed: June 2013 

WILL Victory

CRG Network v. GAB

 

Wisconsin law prohibited an independent committee from donating even $1 to a candidate if that candidate had already accepted a certain amount of donations from other committees.  This limitation discriminated solely on the basis of when a donation is made.  We sued to overturn it and were successful in having it declared unconstitutional.

Filed:  June 2013

WILL Victory

JEAMEC v. Milwaukee

 

Milwaukee decided that a small plot of open land a north side church used for religious and charitable purposes was “unnecessary”, and tried to tax it.  We sued and convinced a judge not only that the land was necessary, but that a state law prohibiting the church from challenging their exemption denial until they paid the tax was unconstitutional.

Filed: July 2012

WILL Victory

Vanden Boogart v. Christensen

 

A small town near Green Bay had an ordinance banning nearly all yard signs.  Town officials played favorites by enforcing the ordinance against people who opposed wind turbine development, while ignoring signs that supported it.  We sued and obtained a substantial settlement from the Town for its blatant violation of First Amendment rights.

Filed: May 2012

Closed Case

WPN v. Myse

 

Wisconsin’s now-defunct “Government Accountability Board” imposed burdensome regulations on individuals engaged in even the smallest amount of grassroots campaigning.  WILL took over the representation of an original action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court challenging those regulations, but the court split 3-3 and dismissed the case.

Filed: August 2010 

Policy Report

Civil Forfeiture 101

Bill safeguards civil liberties, increases transparency. February 20, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) Research Fellow Collin Roth testified Tuesday […]

Policy Report

On Freedom of Expression in the University of Wisconsin System: Analysis and Recommendations of the Legislative Proposal

 

WILL concludes that “Both bills are a good start in that they seek to reaffirm the UW’s historic commitment to free speech”   May 15, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – Today the […]

Policy Report

Lurching Towards Darkness: An analysis of how the Evers administration handles open records request

Evers’ administration is dysfunctional and disorganized, threatens to move Wisconsin backwards on transparency. The News: A review of the open government practices of Governor Tony Evers, Lt. […]

Policy Report

2020 Wisconsin Speech Code Review

 

By WILL On April 23, 2020 In Press Releases, WILL News Broad speech restrictions, bias response teams, and free speech zones impair free expression and open debate The News: A review of speech codes at Wisconsin colleges and universities by the […]