Over the last few years, between the rulings of various state and federal judiciary (along with a side of heavily slanted legislation on both levels of government), it truly has been the days of wine and roses for the Republican party and their constituents.
In 2022, the Supreme Court helped to weaken the separation of church and state with their rulings in the cases Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, and Carson v. Makin. When combining the results of these rulings, we ended up with the lines separating public funding from religious private schools and prayer in public schools being eroded.
And, of course, who could forget the landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade?
Yet, no matter how egregious these actions have been, it seems that those with political power were just getting warmed up. Enter 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.
For those of you who wish to view the entire journey this case had through America’s legal system, click here. For everyone else …
Lorie Smith is the owner of a Colorado-based web-design company called 303 Creative. She claimed to have received an email from a gay man—identified in the complaint as “Stewart”—who wanted to utilize her services to build a website for his, and his soon-to-be husband’s, wedding. She saw what had happened in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and felt that the best way to handle this request was to ignore the email and make a pre-emptive strike. She did this by suing on the grounds that her free speech/freedom of religion rights were being violated by the anti-discrimination law itself.
Eventually, it went to the Supreme Court, which opted to hear the case. After everything was said and done, they ruled 6-3 in favor of Smith’s right to discriminate—based solely on her thoughts and no actual crime being committed.
What makes this situation even worse is that the email Smith received, the one that started this entire mess, was a complete fabrication.
Once the facts of the case were released, multiple news outlets like Newsweek and the Associated Press reached out to “Stewart” for comment. What they found was shocking: not only was he not gay (he’d been married to a woman for years), but he claims he never sent the email in the first place. And, in fact, because of how strong the evidence is that this entire legal situation was predicated on a lie (thereby violating a whole slew of ethics laws), Smith’s lawyers are looking at potential disbarment for pulling their little stunt.
Yes, I understand that the Supreme Court has chosen to hear preemptive federal cases in the past. However, none of those cases had as large of a scope as directly confronting the future civil rights of an entire section of protected citizens. Especially with the case hinging on “well, I MIGHT get in trouble for being a bigot, and I know the Supreme Court is slanted in the ‘right’ direction, so …”
OK, that’s an oversimplification. But as far as the part about SCOTUS being slanted and using their power to “punish the sinners,” I’m not inaccurate.
At one point in the history of this nation, discrimination that was utterly egregious wouldn’t have been tolerated—no matter the reason given. The Christian college known as Bob Jones University found this out the hard way in their case Bob Jones University v. United States.
In 1970, the IRS changed policies to include civil rights protections. One of the biggest changes came in the form of removing tax-exempt status from private schools that engaged in racial discrimination. Bob Jones University said that they adhered to “fundamentalist Christian beliefs” which included certain types of discrimination against Black people. Though they would eventually lessen their stance from an almost zero-tolerance policy of admitting Black students to just banning interracial dating and marriage, their racism was still completely systemic.
This led to a decade-long legal battle which came to a head when the Supreme Court decided to hear the case in 1982. And in 1983—the era of Ronald Reagan, Jerry Falwell, and the Moral Majority— the court ruled 8-1 that no matter what your religious beliefs are, systemically violating the civil rights of an entire class of protected people will not be tolerated in America.
How the times have changed.
There are two ways we can handle the out-of-control actions being adopted by those at the highest levels of government.
The first is we can flip the script to our advantage. By this I mean, if you know someone openly hates who you are at your core, why would you want to give them your money? Of course, I know that discrimination should be fought at every turn; but I also understand the importance of economics. And to me, it seems like a worse fate to force someone to accept your money for a service, and then have that person turn around and donate it to a political figure that has the ability to REALLY wreck your life.
The second option we have is in forcing the narrative of judicial term limits to the forefront of political discussion. In recent years we have seen various judiciaries run amok by pushing a personal agenda instead of doing what’s in the best interest of the law and following established legal precedent. The only way this can be stopped is if we start asking our various political leaders what they intend to do when it comes to enacting judicial term limits and keep asking until they give us realistic options.
Because if we don’t get this runaway train under control, I can only imagine which minority group will be picked next as a sacrificial offering to the Wicker Man.