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Illinois and Chicago join briefs on “hot button” US Supreme Court case

Wednesday, Aug 31, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Crain’s

The state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, and 10 members of the U.S. House delegation have all joined friend-of-the-court briefs in one of the biggest U.S. Supreme Court cases of the coming term. They are backing the state of Colorado in the defense of its public-accommodations law against a challenge by a wedding website designer who cites a religious objection for refusing to do work for same-sex nuptials.

The case is 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which will be argued sometime in the term that begins Oct. 3, with a decision expected by late June 2023. Website designer Lorie Smith went to court seeking a ruling that Colorado could not enforce its anti-bias law against her graphic design firm because of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

It’s among the most hot-button cases in a term that follows the one in which the justices overruled a half-century of abortion rights and made it more difficult for states and cities to regulate guns. […]

The friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Colorado, filed late last week, are among 70 filed on both sides of the case. A separate brief by other members of Congress filed in June supports the website designer, though no members of the Illinois delegation signed that one.

* Attorney General Kwame Raoul signed a brief with 21 states to argue that commercial enterprises should not have religious-based exemptions to anti-discrimination laws that protect individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Chicago Corporation Counsel Celia Meza signed a brief with 54 local governments to argue that city, town, and county anti-discrimination protections “reflect a democratically determined commitment to equality and inclusion in the public sphere.” And 10 US House Democrats, Reps. Sean Casten, Danny K. Davis, Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Marie Newman, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky, Lauren Underwood, and Brad Schneider signed a brief with 137 fellow US Representatives supporting Colorado.

* Also, former state employee Mark Janus filed a brief arguing Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws require a form of impermissible government-compelled speech. Janus won a 2018 Supreme Court case which ruled that government employees could not be forced to join a union and could not be required to pay union dues or fees. Crain’s reported that Janus’ brief was written by the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center, the same organization that took up the challenge to union fees.


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 8:34 am:

    –because of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage.–

    I would have sympathy for someone who lived their entire lives by this claimed religious belief. But that is never the case in these situations. It’s just one single thing out of the old testament, while ALL the other things in there are ignored.

    If she can show proof she follows ALL aspects of her religion, then fine. Disgusting, but fine. But the odds of a creative web designer following all the beliefs in the old testament are zero.

    For example, if I quoted Timothy 2:12 to her - would she follow those teachings as well? If the answer is no, then she should have no case. Seeing as where this situation is currently, it is self-apparent of her convictions of belief - or lack thereof.

    This would also be a great time to discuss the Hebrew translations of the Bible, and how they differ from English. How one inaccurate word translated can cause so much trouble. And yes, when you find out which word, and which word it was originally, you will probably audibly gasp.

  2. - H-W - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 8:48 am:

    We always live in historic moments. The current times suggest this Supreme Court will rule that people have a right to express their bigotries openly, and that Title 2 of the 1964 Civil Rights Acts was egregiously in err. They will conclude people have the right to discriminate in public accommodations should they so choose, and that the public is not protected from discrimination.

    The Court is also scheduled to overturn affirmative action in public venues (e.g., public higher education). They will strike down UNC-Chapel Hill, but maintain the right of Harvard to act affirmatively since they are a private organization.

    I just have to remind myself that this is a historic moment, and it will be undone in the future.

  3. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 8:58 am:

    If a business can discriminate re sexual orientation purportedly based on religious beliefs why couldn’t they also discriminate on the basis of race, disability, age, etc. on that same basis?

  4. - Paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:14 am:

    Mark Janus must be fun to be around.

  5. - Pundent - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:15 am:

    The Dobbs decision reflected an ideological shift in the Supreme Court that only begins with abortion. This is the court that Mitch McConnell fought for years to get. And now we’ll see if the GOP is able to withstand the consequences.

  6. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:20 am:

    =If a business can discriminate re sexual orientation purportedly based on religious beliefs why couldn’t they also discriminate on the basis of race, disability, age, etc. on that same basis?=

    I do not think it is far fetched to believe that if one form of bias is allowed then others would become permissible. I see that as problematic, we could be looking at the reversing of a century of hard fought for rights.

    I wonder what will happen when a business decides to refuse to provide services or goods to someone because they are a white christian because they are of a different religion. I’ll bet these folks will lose their minds.

  7. - Lurker - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:21 am:

    With the current SCOTUS, is there any doubt of the ruling?

  8. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:22 am:

    Freedom from YOUR religion is under attack by the radical, anti-democratic right. Remember that come November. Vote to preserve democracy while you still can. Americans can disagree, but we won’t be merica anymore without democracy.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:24 am:

    In the year of the Janus decision (2018) the national public sector unionization rate was the same as today, like 33.9% or thereabout (BLS). Since he was hired by the IPI to bust unions, he’s apparently doing a terrible job. Merit pay must only be for union opponents.

  10. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:28 am:

    –I wonder what will happen when a business decides to refuse to provide services or goods to someone because they are a white christian–

    They will use the power of the state to punish you.

    Just because we are having a hard time accepting what is happening, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

    It’s theocracy.

  11. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:34 am:

    It’s bigotry and has nothing to do with religion. If it was about refusal to serve those who violate religion, they’d be refusing just about everyone.

  12. - froganon - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:40 am:

    It is past time to expand SCOTUS, institute reforms that limit a President’s and the Senate’s ability to obstruct appointments.

  13. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 9:45 am:

    === It is past time to expand SCOTUS ===

    That’s a slippery slope. What would be the appropriate number of justices on the Supreme Court and what would stop the number of justices on the Court from becoming a political game that can be manipulated by the party in majority?

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:02 am:

    - Steve -

    Are you equating bigotry… to religion?

  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:12 am:

    It would be interesting to see what happens when someone has a sincerely held religious belief that a particular person should server them in commerce under any circumstance. And that person has a sincerely held religious belief that they can’t serve said person.

    We had these laws for a reason. If we have to collectively re-learn that reason then so be it.

  16. - H-W - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    @Steve - you assume a Klan member would frequency black-owned businesses. I just do not see that happening. But if it were to occur, then I think the business person should sell their wares and goods, unless the Klan member becomes disruptive of the business enterprise.

  17. - Occasional Quipper - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    To be clear, the business involved is not generically refusing to provide service because the couple are a same-sex couple. Their website makes it clear that they will serve everyone, but that they may limit the type of messaging in the services they provide, based on their religious beliefs.

    The Capitolfax blog does not allow profanity. Is that discriminating against people who use profanity? No, not at all as there are lots of commenters here who use profanity (some only while driving) and they’re still allowed to comment here, as long as they don’t use profanity in their comments. So the discrimination is against the message, not against the person.

  18. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    ==Should African -American bakers have to make cakes for Klan members? That’s a question related to this cake case.==

    Yes, they should. Anyone operating a business should have to abide by anti-discrimination rules.

    To the post . . .

    I would guess the Court is going to side with the designer because this Court has indicated that they believe individuals should be able to use their religion to get out of doing anything they don’t want to do in the “name” of their religion. What it is is Court sanctioned bigotry.

  19. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    Apples are still apples…not oranges.

  20. - Blue Dog - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:22 am:

    Seeing this sort of stupid behavior popping up all over. Even some off campus housing issues at UC Berkeley of all places.

  21. - Jerry - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:24 am:

    This store is on a public street supported by taxpayers that were born attracted to someone of the same sex, or others that may have chosen a “Heterosexual” lifestyle. The store owner could move their business where it’s not draining public resources. Or serve all customers.

  22. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 10:59 am:

    I assume the Klan comparison was trolling. But no, membership in the Klan is not a protected class so anyone could legally discriminate a Klan member on that basis. The baker could not discriminate against white customers because race is a protected class.

  23. - Pot stirrer - Wednesday, Aug 31, 22 @ 5:19 pm:

    Are MAP a protected class yet?

  24. - Yooper in Diaspora - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 10:29 pm:

    Late to this conversation, but appreciated Paddyrollingstone’s comment on Mark Janus

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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