Friday, June 30, 2023

The Supreme Court's terrible 303 Creative v. Elenis ruling - what you need to know


Editor's note - Friday's Supreme Court ruling concerning 303 Creative v. Elenis was a travesty simply for the fact that it was not an actual situation and being so, the plaintiff had no standing to pursue a lawsuit.  But since we're at this point, the important thing is to get a clear view of where we stand. A lot of folks have been freaking out, so I am relying on Lambda Legal to give a clear view of what happened and where do we go from here. (I highlighted some points which I think folks NEED to know)

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of a Colorado website design business – 303 Creative – which claimed the owner’s business involves “expression” and is therefore entitled to an exemption from the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) so that she can discriminate against same-sex couples when designing and selling wedding websites. In its ruling, the Court found this particular business engaged in “speech for pay” by creating customized websites for carefully vetted clients using the owner’s original artwork and language.  That uniquely creative expression is protected by the First Amendment from being “compelled” by state law when contrary to messages the artist wishes to express. 

 Lambda Legal Chief Legal Officer Jennifer C. Pizer issued the following statement:  

 “Unlike yesterday’s affirmative action travesty, today’s smug attack on civil rights law will have limited practical impact in the marketplace because few commercial services involve original artwork and pure speech offered as limited commissions.  But today’s narrow decision does continue the Court majority’s dangerous siren call to those trying to return the country to the social and legal norms of the Nineteenth Century because it jettisons without even acknowledging what was part of the legal test for decades.  

“Although misguided, today’s decision depends on its limited, uncommon facts – this business owner takes specific commissions, unlike most commercial enterprises that solicit customers widely, and she creates unique artwork for those selected customers.  Importantly, the decision also confirms that all forms of discrimination forbidden by Colorado’s law are subjected to the same constitutional standard, and that such laws serve compelling public purposes.   

 “Still, it is impossible to overlook the fact that this extreme Court majority yet again has set aside decades of sensible precedent that previously required that objective observers of commercial conduct would need to understand that any message conveyed by a commercially available service was that of the business owner rather than that of the customer.  Given the uniquely creative service at issue here, the impact is likely to be minimal.  But the door has been opened for potential future cases to expand this limited carve-out.  We will be vigilant against that possibility.”   

So basically, this is the deal in my opinion.

 The ruling in this case is limited because of extenuating circumstances. Even though the court ruled in favor of the web designer, it confirmed the need and justification for anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ Americans.

BUT . . .

1. The ruling opens the door for future cases looking to test laws favoring LGBTQ rights.

2. The fact that SCOTUS agreed to hear this case even though there was NO CASE to begin with raises huge questions about the court's integrity as a whole and the motivations of certain members. I think that in the future, this case will be mentioned as proof of why the Justice Roberts era of SCOTUS was of poor quality.

For now, we do what we always do when there is a loss - pick ourselves up and continue to fight like hell. Pride month in general this year was a rough one. But we not only got through it but pulled out some wins in court. And we looked fabulous in our celebrations, like always. No matter how the opposition tries to spin it, we won.   But we should be used to that. LGBTQ people know how to win the hard way because we've done it so many times.

And we are going to do it again.

'Ron DeSantis faces one setback after another in battle against LGBTQ rights' & other Fri midday news briefs

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis faces one setback after another in battle against LGBTQ rights - And it couldn't be happening to a more deserving person.