The Supreme Court has rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to block the release of White House documents to the House committee investigating the violent January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol building. Continue reading “Supreme Court Rejects Trump Attempt To Block Release Of White House Docs”
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined a request to block a federal requirement for wearing face masks during air travel. Continue reading “Supreme Court Declines To Block Face Mask Requirement During Air Travel”
The Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote, has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its COVID vaccine requirements for large private companies.
However, similar regulations for healthcare workers at medical facilities that take Medicare or Medicaid payments have been allowed to go into effect. Continue reading “Supreme Court Blocks COVID Vaccine Requirement For Large Businesses”
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by anti-LGBTQ florist Barronelle Stutzman of Washington state who refused to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding.
Stutzman’s petition is listed on Friday’s orders list indicating the high court had denied certiorari, or refused to take up the case. No reason was given although the orders note that Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would have granted the petition to hear the case. In the Supreme Court, at least four justices have to agree to take up a case.
The decision means the ruling by the Washington Supreme Court will stand.
The sad story began in 2013 when Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed, longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers owned by Stutzman, approached the florist for flowers for their dream wedding. Stutzman refused claiming doing so would violate her religious beliefs.
In 2017, the case had made its way up to the Washington state high court which ruled Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in public accommodations. The florist was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Stutzman appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 wherein SCOTUS vacated the lower court’s decision and asked the Washington court to review the case in light of a narrow ruling in the case of Jack Phillips, owner of the Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop.
A year later, in June 2019, the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed its decision finding there had been no animosity involved against Stutzman in the original ruling.
Today’s decision is the end of the road in terms of legal options for Stutzman.
The Supreme Court is once again effectively saying that non-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people can stand.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) July 2, 2021
“After Curt and I were turned away from our local flower shop, we cancelled the plans for our dream wedding because we were afraid it would happen again. We had a small ceremony at home instead,” Ingersoll told ABC News in a statement. “We hope this decision sends a message to other LGBTQ people that no one should have to experience the hurt that we did.”
Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement, “The Supreme Court has once again said that critical nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people are legally enforceable and has set a strong and definitive precedent.”
Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for the virulently anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, called the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case “tragic.”
So ends the saga of Barronelle Stutzman, who the hate group ADF has been fundraising off for the better part of a decade.
She lost before *and* after Masterpiece Cakeshop in the lower courts. LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections aren't going to be totally overturned this week. https://t.co/y8pLVIyYHl
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) July 2, 2021
This is the third high profile LGBTQ-related case addressed by the Supreme Court.
In June, SCOTUS issued a unanimous but very narrow ruling in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Philadelphia which had refused to certify same-sex couples who applied to become foster parents.
The ruling was not the broad ‘license to discriminate’ anti-LGBTQ advocates had hoped for. Instead, the justices found in favor of CSS because the city hadn’t applied its own policy of exemptions uniformly. The decision only applies to CSS and its contract with Philadelphia.
And earlier this week, SCOTUS also rejected to hear an appeal by a Virginia school board seeking ban transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. That decision sets precedent regarding restroom discrimination in schools in at least five states.
— The Randy Report (@randyslovacek) June 28, 2021
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s new voting restrictions in a 6-3 ruling today.
From the New York Times:
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld voting restrictions in Arizona and signaled that challenges to new state laws making it harder to vote would face a hostile reception from a majority of the justices.
The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.
The new case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, No. 19-1257, concerned two kinds of voting restrictions in Arizona. One required election officials to discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct. The other made it a crime for campaign workers, community activists and most other people to collect ballots for delivery to polling places, a practice critics call “ballot harvesting.” The law made exceptions for family members, caregivers and election officials.
Read the full article here.
BREAKING NEWS: In 6-3 ruling, SCOTUS upholds two Arizona voting provisions: a ban on so-called "ballot harvesting," and a policy that throws out an entire ballot if it was cast in the wrong precinct. Challengers argued that both provisions discriminate against minority voters.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) July 1, 2021
Breaking: Supreme Court upholds GOP voting restrictions in Arizona, further weakening Voting Rights Act & giving green-light to GOP voter suppression laws. 6-3 opinion by Alito. Kagan dissents https://t.co/YTt9hzew3n
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) July 1, 2021
Now: SCOTUS has ruled that two Arizona voting restrictions (tossing out-of-precinct ballots and banning third-party collection of ballots) don't violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which broadly prohibits racial discrimination https://t.co/3d7Xk3mlfq pic.twitter.com/Mqlet6Dd4Q
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 1, 2021
In this week’s podcast:
• NFL player Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders comes out as gay Continue reading “Podcast: NFL Player Comes Out, 1st Trans Contestant Heads To Miss USA Pageant”
The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by a Virginia school board that hoped to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban.
That decision leaves in place lower court rulings that found the policy unconstitutional.
From the New York Times:
An appeals court had ruled that the policy violated the Constitution and a federal law by prohibiting the student, Gavin Grimm, from using the same bathrooms as other boys. The school said Mr. Grimm could use a private bathroom.
The Supreme Court had agreed to hear an earlier appeal in the case but dismissed it in 2017 after the Trump administration changed the federal government’s position on transgender rights. The Biden administration has since adopted policies protecting transgender students.
What this means: there is now strong precedent that schools in the 4th Circuit (Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia) cannot prohibit students from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
Last year, the Supreme Court for the first time ruled in favor of transgender rights, saying that a federal employment discrimination law applied to LGBTQ workers.
In Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the Supreme Court refuses to take up a Virginia school board’s request to reinstate a policy prohibiting transgender students from using school bathrooms that reflect their gender identity.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 28, 2021
The Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving a transgender student’s right to use school bathrooms matching his gender identity.
This refusal to review Gavin Grimm’s case allows lower court rulings that say treating trans students differently violates federal law to stand pic.twitter.com/MQF7stH3Jb
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 28, 2021
For the third time now, the Affordable Care Act has survived a legal challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Despite relentless attacks from Republicans and previous cases in 2012 and 2015, the law has only gained in popularity with Americans.
Today’s ruling didn’t address the central question of whether the law could stand without the individual mandate which was removed from the law in 2017. Instead, the high court sidestepped the issue ruling the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the case.
From the New York Times:
The margin of victory was wider than in the earlier cases, with six members of the court joining Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s modest and technical majority opinion, one that said only that the 18 Republican-led states and two individuals who brought the case had not suffered the sort of direct injury that gave them standing to sue.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who had cast the decisive vote to save the law in 2012, was in the majority. So was Justice Clarence Thomas, who had dissented in the earlier decisions.
“Whatever the act’s dubious history in this court,” Justice Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion, “we must assess the current suit on its own terms. And, here, there is a fundamental problem with the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs in attacking the act — they have not identified any unlawful action that has injured them. Today’s result is thus not the consequence of the court once again rescuing the act, but rather of us adjudicating the particular claims the plaintiffs chose to bring.”
Striking down the Affordable Care Act would have added nearly 21 million people to the list of uninsured in the country. Among those are folks who are now eligible for Medicaid, young adults who can stay on their parents’ plans until 26, and Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case brought by Catholic Social Services, a foster care agency seeking a religious exemption from the city of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.
The case arose after Catholic Social Services (CSS) violated its contract with the city by refusing to place children in the care of same-sex couples.
The Court today found in favor of Catholic Social Services on the very narrow aspect that Philadelphia did not apply its own local policy neutrally. What the ruling did not do was create a broad license to discriminate which is what LGBTQ opponent were hoping for.
Specifically, the Court’s 9-0 decision held that local governments’ non-discrimination ordinances do not conflict with the First Amendment as long as they do so neutrally. The Court’s narrow ruling applies only to the City of Philadelphia’s contract with CSS.
As Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, writes in response to today’s ruling, “Properly understood, today’s decision is a significant victory for LGBTQ people. The Court ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services, but on the narrowest possible ground, based on language in the City of Philadelphia’s contract that authorized individualized exemptions for any provider.”
“The Court did not change the current constitutional framework, which permits governments to enforce anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people even when doing so may have a disparate burden on those who hold certain religious beliefs,” added Minter. “As a result of today’s decision, those who feared the Court might create a sweeping new religious exemption to such laws can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Justice Samuel Alito wrote today that if Philadelphia were to “eliminate the never-used exemption…voilà, today’s decision will vanish.”
This is similar to the Supreme Court’s 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling which narrowly held in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Instead of ruling against the state’s nondiscrimination laws, the court found the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown animus against the baker by not giving “fair consideration” to his claims.
An October 2020 survey from PRRI found a very broad majority of Americans (70%) oppose allowing religiously affiliated agencies that receive taxpayer funding to refuse to accept qualified gay and lesbian couples as foster parents, including 31% who strongly oppose it.
Pro-LGBTQ lawyers and activists shared their thoughts on the Fulton ruling on Twitter.
Josh Block, of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, underscored that the ruling “applies only to this contract” and “does not apply to civil rights law.”
Bottom line: Fulton applies only to this contract, which had an unusual system of individualized, discretionary exemptions. It does not apply to civil rights laws, none of which have the same types of individualized exemption process.
— Josh Block (@JoshABlock) June 17, 2021
Chase Strangio concurred that the decision “is very narrow and fact-specific” which can be viewed as “the good news.”
Here’s the good news on Fulton.
It is very narrow and fact-specific.
Alito hates it.
General doctrine survives – especially if Breyer retires.
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) June 17, 2021
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued a statement which read in part:
“Though today’s decision is not a complete victory, it does not negate the fact that every qualified family is valid and worthy—children deserve a loving, caring, committed home. We celebrate the LGBTQ families who are dedicated to providing homes to the thousands of children in the child welfare system.
“Yet we know there is more work that must be done to ensure that the best interest of the child is always prioritized, including through family reunification. And there is more work to be done to ensure that LGBTQ people do not face discrimination anywhere in the country in every aspect of public life—our next step is to pass the Equality Act.”
BREAKING: #SCOTUS has ruled non-discrimination laws apply to taxpayer-funded child services so long as they are enforced neutrally but that Philadelphia’s law was not neutral. pic.twitter.com/COfLsBfghM
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 17, 2021
Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National, released the following statement:
“Youth in foster care have the right to stability and to be placed with families that support and affirm them for who they are — inclusive of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Today’s Supreme Court ruling affirms that discrimination by government contractors is not permitted, and foster youth and their families are protected by nondiscrimination laws. PFLAG National stands with the former and current foster youth, foster caregivers who are LGBTQ+, and found families everywhere as we continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ people to secure full equality. The Senate must pass the Equality Act now to protect the rights of youth, families, and LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”
And I have to add this from my favorite LGBTQ blogger, JoeMyGod:
There would hardly be any need for adoption agencies in the first place if heterosexual parents didn't abuse and abandon their children by the tens of thousands every year.
But don't let those icky gays help clean up their mess, THAT is against Jesus.
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) June 17, 2021
I guess you could call this a “win by default…”
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a legal argument between California and Texas centered on ‘religious beliefs’ trumping LGBTQ rights.
From USA Today:
The Supreme Court declined Monday to take up a heated dispute between one of the nation’s most liberal states and one of its most conservative in a case that had pit freedom of religion against gay rights.
California passed a law in 2016 prohibiting taxpayer-funded travel – such as for state employees to attend conferences – to any state that doesn’t ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Texas law allows foster-care and adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples on religious grounds.
Texas took California directly to the Supreme Court last year, asserting the travel ban was “born of religious animus” and that it violates the Constitution.
Conservatives Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas issued a dissent over the court not taking the case because of course.