Supreme Court opens the door to gut civil rights, fair housing laws

Substitute “African American” for “LGBT+” in the case of Colorado web designer Lorie Smith, and you’ve got a return to the bad old days of Jim Crow when so many alleged Christians insisted their religion required separation of the races, a lawyer writes.

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The U.S. Supreme Court building on June 30.

The U.S. Supreme Court building on June 30.

AP Photos

With its dangerous and legally indefensible decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis that seriously twists the First Amendment into something unrecognizable, the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door to the evisceration of all civil rights and fair housing laws. As a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1995, let me explain why.

This decision is disingenuous at best, and frighteningly dangerous to the Constitution, civil rights and democracy at worst. Just substitute “African American” for “LGBT+” (in the case involving the Colorado web designer), and you’ve got a return to the bad old days of Jim Crow when so many alleged Christians insisted their religion required separation of the races, justifying segregated housing, schools, lodging, restaurants, theaters and marriage.

Add in that providing a service like designing websites has nothing to do with First Amendment free speech rights, but everything to do with providing services to the public, and you’ve got a perfect storm to facilitate discrimination against every class protected by civil rights and fair housing laws.

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With this decision, the Supreme Court has given bigots an excuse to legally discriminate: Just claim that your religion requires it, and if you don’t discriminate, your free speech is being impaired.

This decision opens the door to housing developments marketed only to members of a specific religion, like the development I discovered in Boulder City, Nevada, which was marketed exclusively to Mormons in blatant violation of the nation’s Fair Housing Act. Under the twisted reasoning of the far right radical majority on today’s Supreme Court, prohibiting marketing only to Mormons would obstruct the free speech rights of the real estate agents who believe their religion requires Mormon-only housing.

The radical right Supreme Court majority paves the way to restoring the de jure (required by law) segregation of the very bad old days.

Dan Lauber, River Forest

Time to expand the Supreme Court

Supreme Court decisions impact every facet of American life. Unfortunately, those decisions don’t reflect the will of the people.

Mitch McConnell’s right-wing majority court gutted voting rights, opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate money in our elections, struck down gun safety laws, overturned student debt relief for millions of Americans and limited the government’s ability to protect our air and water. Since they overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion has been effectively banned (with extremely limited exceptions) in 14 states.

This can’t go on. We need to move away from these types of extremely partisan rulings and restore the legitimacy of the court by passing the Judiciary Act to expand and rebalance the bench.

Congress has changed the size of the Supreme Court seven times already in our nation’s history, and they must do it again to ensure the justices protect our freedoms, not advance their own radical political agendas. It’s time for Congress to pass the Judiciary Act.

Haley Eder, Edgewater

Refusing public service based on beliefs

My first question is, what happened to the separation of church and state?

In its rulings, it seems the Supreme Court has forgotten about that. Does web designer Lorie Smith, who is so religious she doesn’t want to do work for gay couples, check on the sex lives of other potential customers? What about couples “living in sin” and who perhaps even have a child out of wedlock? Will she turn them away? What about people not of a Christian religion? Will she turn them away? What about non-practicing Christians? Are agnostics or atheists also on the outs?

Just because you have a belief, of any sort, does not mean you can refuse service to people who don’t believe as you do. Oops ... I guess it does.

Clare Donovan, Westchester

Politicians have no right to question Supreme Court

Basically, the only thing our Supreme Court has done is to clarify the laws of our nation, not decide what should or shouldn’t be. They are the very fabric of what holds us all accountable to the Constitution. Sometimes we don’t like it and sometimes we do, but we have to accept it.

Our politicians have no moral rights to condemn or question the authority of the Supreme Court and the Constitution; to do so is morally reprehensible.

When our president publicly states he believes the Supreme Court is wrong, then we have to address that attack on our Constitution and laws. President Joe Biden needs to explain and apologize to the American people for his slur.

Mike Zaczek, Orland Park

Dems out to destroy America

Why do radical liberals and media go crazy when they disagree with a Supreme Court ruling? The rulings support the law, but it doesn’t fit the radical liberal thinking. When will people wake up and realize the radical Democrats are only out to destroy this country?

Joe Revane, Lombard

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