Monks can build wood caskets, judge rulesCOVINGTON, LA

- The building of wood caskets at a Louisiana monastery was okayed by U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, which ruled that the state's funeral director association had no right to regulate sourcing caskets, wood or otherwise.

The ruling followed a long-running dispute in which the the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors had attempted to block the Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey from building wooden caskets in their woodshop. The funeral directors group says it will appeal the ruling.

"We are absolutely thrilled that the court protected our economic liberty rights to provide caskets to willing consumers," said Abbot Justin Brown. "This is a great day for the Abbey, the U.S. Constitution, and all Louisianians."

The abbey's case was fought in court by the Institute for Justice, "who came to our aid free of charge to help us secure our economic rights," the abbey said in a statement.

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