What’s at stake with the Supreme Court and Justice Jackson’s nomination: LGBTQ+ rights
Over the past decade-plus, Supreme Court rulings have produced significant advancements for LGBTQ+ rights, including marriage equality and employment opportunities. Significant dangers lie ahead, however, thanks to the recent addition of three Trump judges. There is a troubling LGBTQ+ case that the Court has already agreed to consider next term. With upcoming hearings on her Supreme Court nomination, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson may well play a crucial role on this issue.
What dangers does the current Supreme Court pose to LGBTQ+ rights?
Far-right judges like Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have consistently opposed LGBTQ+ rights on the court. Both sought to severely limit these rights in the name of religious freedom or freedom of expression. Although not going as far as Thomas requested, the Court recently ruled against requiring a Baker and one religious foster care agency to serve same-sex couples in accordance with state law.
With three Trump justices now on the court, some fear “Thomas could now be speak for the majorityon LGBTQ+ rights. Yet prejudice and other harmful actions against LGBTQ+ people keep on going Across the country. And the Court has agreed to decide a case that threatens to significantly weaken civil rights laws that protect LGBTQ+ and other people. The court will hear the case next quarter, after a Jackson judge joins the court.
What LGBTQ+ rights case will the court hear after the new justice is confirmed?
The new case concerns a Colorado law that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on LGBTQ+ status and other grounds. As in many other states, the refusal to serve same-sex couples by a business open to the public violates the law. In the case before the Court, a woman who simply plans to open a wedding website design business wants to be able to refuse to serve same-sex couples, saying the law cannot validly interfere with his alleged First Amendment rights.
The far-right group representing the designer is asking for a judgment that would void the public accommodation law. They want her to be able to put a public disclaimer on her website that she won’t serve same-sex couples. The tenth circuit refuse, noting that no one has yet asked the company to design such a website.
The Court nevertheless agreed to take up the case. Their exam will focus on one question. Does the application of civil rights law to “to force an artist to speak or be silent” violate the first amendment?
As one analyst explained, the case “threatens to undo decades of civil rights protectionsand harm LGBTQ+ people and other systematically oppressed groups. It would do so by “returning business owners to darker times” when they abused religious views or free speech as an excuse to violate non-discrimination laws. Many companies might claim they operate like “artists” and resist “mandatory” talk to comply with such laws. But if a company can post a sign saying it refuses to serve same-sex couples, what’s to stop them refusing to serve interracial couples and saying so openly on their websites?
The court a long time ago rejected these religious opinions and free speech are excuses to violate anti-bias laws. This reaffirmed this view in the Baker case, before Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett joined the Court. The very fact that at least four justices voted to hear the Colorado case, however, strongly suggests a danger to LGBTQ+ and other civil rights.
What other LGBTQ-related cases might the Court decide?
A number of anti-LGBTQ+ actions by states have already resulted in lawsuits that could end up in the Supreme Court. Texas Attorney General Paxton is shocking declaration that gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth somehow constitutes “child abuse” at the top of the list. This led to the outbreak of new investigations by this statement and Governor Abbott’s order for a “prompt and thorough” investigation into each case. A mother warned this “[c]the children will die because of Governor Abbott’s order.
In response to a lawsuit in a Texas state court, a judge recently Posted a preliminary injunction against the continuation or initiation of such investigations. A full trial will take place in July, but the state has already appealed the injunction. No matter how the initial call comes out, whoever loses will likely call again. The lawsuit could well reach the Supreme Court, possibly as early as next year.
Florida provided another example with its recent adoption of a troubling “Don’t Say Gay” law. Legislation prohibits public school districts from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Due to the broad wording of the law, advocates fear it will apply to the upper classes and result in legal action from parents who claim their children received “inappropriate instruction” in these areas.
The Federal Ministry of Education is one of those condemn the law. He said he would take legal action if the law discriminates against LGBTQ students. One or more such cases involving Florida law could end up in the Supreme Court.
What could a judge Jackson do?
As history shows, cases involving LGBTQ+ rights have sharply divided the Court. Jackson would replace Justice Breyer, who is among the three-judge minority who reliably supports LGBTQ+ rights. It will take years of hard work for progressives to change the composition of the Court, just as the far right has done.
In a divided court, however, a new judge can still make a significant difference. Like the late Judge Byron White would have said, with every new judge, there is a new Supreme Court. Jackson’s Story of Directing consensus on divided issues within the US Sentencing Commission could be helpful in this area.
Additionally, Judge Sandra Day O’Connor Explain that Justice Thurgood Marshall influenced the Court by sharing his life experiences. The perspective of a black female judge can also make a difference in cases of discrimination against targeted groups. As Reverend Leslie Watson Wilson recently Put the“[a]All Americans will benefit when the deliberations and decision-making of our highest court are sharpened by the perspective and soft powers of a black woman judge.
This prospect will also likely reinforce dissent over far-right court rulings. This will help promote re-examination of these issues by Congress or the Court in the future. For example, a strong dissent from Justice Ginsburg helped lead the Congress to change federal civil rights law and overcome a court ruling that limited fair pay for working women. Congressional legislation to more explicitly protect LGBTQ+ people could undo at least some of the damage done by the Court. Several of these bills have already been introduced in Congress.
Elevating Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court will not immediately solve the problems posed by his far-right majority. However, in light of the crucial issues such as LGBTQ+ rights that are at stake, this is an important first step.