Appeals judge questions Arch Mil. position on $60 mil cemetery trust

Chicago — Judges at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday appeared to challenge a key argument in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's efforts to protect $60 million it holds in a trust for the care of cemeteries from being used to pay creditors in its bankruptcy.

The three-judge panel questioned whether the archdiocese needs that entire $60 million to maintain its cemeteries. And one of the jurists, 7th Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams, said she found issues related to U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa's decision not to recuse himself from the lawsuit over those funds "troubling."

The panel — Appellate Judges Williams and Joel Flaum, along with U.S. District Judge Robert Dow of the Northern District of Illinois — heard oral arguments Monday on several issues related to the bankruptcy, including First Amendment questions that could be of national significance as religious liberty cases make their way through courts around the country.
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