‘Nuclear hypocrisy’: Legal experts stunned by SCOTUS’ ‘weird’ ruling in LGBTQ rights case.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday
sided with a Christian web designer who refused to create websites for same-sex weddings – and legal experts are stunned.
The justices voted 6 3 in favor of Colorado web designer Lorie Smith who argued that the First Amendment entitled her to a religious exemption from a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Justice Sonia Sotomayor called out the ruling as dangerous in her dissent. For More Information….
Today the Court for the first time in its history grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class Sotomayor wrote. “Our Constitution contains no right to refuse service to a disfavored group.”
Smith and her attorneys from the right-wing Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom identified a prospective client named Stewart who inquired about a website for his same-sex wedding, but a man claiming to be that individual came forward and claimed he is, in fact, a straight, married father who never made that request.
“I’m married, I have a child — I’m not really sure where that came from?” the man told the New Republic. “But somebody’s using false information in a Supreme Court filing document.”
Legal experts were appalled that a ruling of such importance to LGBTQ rights could be based on such flimsy evidence.
“Please recall that no same-sex couple has ever sought to engage Lorie Smith’s business to create a wedding for their website; this case is built entirely on hypotheticals; there are essentially no facts,” tweeted Mark Joseph Stern, a legal writer for Slate. “The decision’s scope is ambiguous and uncertain.”
“It’s not clear what happened, and it’s not clear the claim makes a difference in the case — the issue wasn’t in the 10th Cir opinion and didn’t come up at oral arguments, in fact, a recurring point has been that there are no same-sex couples involved — but it’s certainly weird,” added legal writer Chris Geidner.
“Just so you know, the Supreme Court just sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ people based on a fake case,” tweeted Imani Gandy, senior editor for law and policy for Rewire News. “Lorie Smith and ADF invented a gay couple to discriminate against and the Supreme Court said sure why not. On the last goddamn day of Pride.”
“For Gorsuch to question the dissent’s handling of the facts in 303 Creative after his lies in Kennedy is nuclear hypocrisy,” said Georgia State law professor Eric Segall. “‘The dissent gets so turned around about the facts that it opens fire on its own position.'”
“The web designer in 303 Creative is an artisan doing work for hire,” said Indiana University law professor Steve Sanders. “She is creating products ordered by customers, not selling her own artistic productions or following her own muse. All the Court’s citations to the contrary are distinguishable. The 1st Am does not apply.”
“Those of you writing up 303 Creative will want to be sure to note that the alleged request was made up,” said legal writer Marcy Wheeler. “SCOTUS just ruled on something makebelieve.”
“Let’s be clear:
nothing happened to the plaintiff in 303 Creative, the whole ‘case’ was a hypothetical exercise, and the GOP Justices used it as a vehicle to undermine every single federal, state, county, and city anti-discrimination law in the country,” added trial lawyer Max Kennerly.
“This isn’t a complicated first amendment case,” tweeted Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation. “You can be as bigoted as you want to be on your own, hateful time. But when you put up a sign ‘open for business’ you have to SERVE THE CUSTOMERS who walk through your door. It isn’t hard. Though I know bigots think it so.”
“There is no limiting principle in 303 Creative,” said Georgia State law professor Anthony Michael Kreis. “Any service that has a remotely expressive component can result in a denial of service under anti-discrimination laws. Nobody is safe from bigotry in the public square.”