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Wisconsin’s State Constitution is the second-oldest in the nation, and Wisconsin is among the minority of states still governing under its original constitution.  This does not mean, however, that Wisconsin has not played a large role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Federal Constitution.

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case arising in Wisconsin that helped define parental rights and freedom of religion.  In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Court held that Amish children could not be forced to attend school beyond the 8th grade; for to do so, would violate their parents’ 1st Amendment freedom of religionYoder served as precedent for parents to choose alternative education, such as home schooling.

Yoder has also been contrasted with the Court’s former decision, Prince v. Massachusetts, and has been criticized as a judicial imposition of society’s value judgments.  In Prince, the Court barred a mother from allowing her child to distribute Jehovah’s Witness pamphlets on city streets under the rationale that government may regulate the treatment and actions of minors in order to further their best interests.  However, in Yoder, the Court found that it was not detrimental to a child’s best interests to be removed from formal education and instead compelled to work on a farm with what some consider dangerous machinery.

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The University of Wisconsin has also been at the center of constitutional law.  In the 2000 case of Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, the High Court found that public universities do not violate students’ First Amendment rights by charging a mandatory activity fee in order to fund campus groups.  Specifically, students argued that by imposing mandatory fees, the university was forcing them to support political and ideological groups with which they disagreed, therefore violating their freedom of speech and freedom of association.  The Court agreed with the university, however, which asserted that such fees allowed it to create a public forum for student speech, which is a vital part of the educational experience; further, because no student was required to actually participate in any of these groups, the university was not compelling speech in violation of the First Amendment; finally, the university successfully argued that the student activity fees were distributed in a viewpoint-neutral way.

According American Bar Association statistics, there are14,448 resident attorneys licensed to practice in Wisconsin.  LegalMatch can help you choose amongst these many lawyers by location, specialty, experience, academic credentials, and former client reviews.  LegalMatch never charges you a fee, and can save you money and time by doing the leg work for you.

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