Brutal SCOTUS rulings, 1849 abortion laws and the battle for gender-affirming care

Speed Read

SCOTUS WATCH: Yesterday, a Supreme Court ruling resulted in the end of affirmative action for college admissions. Today, the Court struck down President Joe Biden’s proposed student debt relief program and undercut LGBTQ rights.

SILVER LINING: However, another ruling by the Court could mean the end of partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

ABORTION DEBATE: The GOP-controlled Wisconsin Legislature rejects calls to repeal 1849 abortion restriction.

CAGE MATCH: Oklahoma Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin is open to a brawl with the Teamsters leader.

JUSTICE SYSTEM REFORM: Illinois’ juvenile prison population continues to decline.

Despite forgery of crucial evidence, Supreme Court rules in favor of LGBTQ discrimination

NEWS: Today, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling dealt a major blow to LGBTQ rights. 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which concerns the right of a graphic designer to decline service to same-sex couples seeking wedding websites, ended with a victory for the plaintiff.

INTRIGUE: However, it appears that a decisive document in the suit appears to be invalid.

Lorie Smith, a web designer from Colorado, claims that a man named Stewart contacted her about drafting a website for his wedding to another man. There’s just one problem: According to the New Republic’s Melissa Gira Grant, Stewart never contacted Smith and has been married to a woman for 15 years. (However, it is worth noting that the contact information listed in the court filings was confirmed by Stewart to be correct.)  

“I can confirm I did not contact 303 Creative about a website. It’s fraudulent insomuch as someone is pretending to be me and looking to marry someone called Mike. That’s not me,” Stewart, whose name was withheld for privacy reasons, told The Guardian.

“What’s most concerning to me is that this is kind of like the one main piece of evidence that’s been part of this case for the last six-plus years and it’s false.”

During Smith’s first suit against the state of Colorado in 2016, her legal representation — the conservative advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has ties to Judge Amy Coney Barrett — argued that regardless of the validity of the request, Smith’s challenge was justified because her First Amendment rights could still hypothetically be violated.

“Lorie Smith seeks only to speak freely — to publicly express her religious beliefs about marriage and refrain from speaking messages about marriage that violate those beliefs — without fear of government punishment,” Smith’s legal team wrote in a 2016 motion.

“Those rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment but ignored by the Defendants who interpret and enforce the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) to compel speech affirming same-sex marriage and punish speech opposing it.”

Unlike a similar case, the infamous Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case of 2018, the court’s ruling could create a new precedent with respect to discrimination law.

Sometimes, shadowing boxing can lead to a knockout.

Gender-affirming care bans halted in Kentucky and Tennessee

NEWS: Attempts by Republican lawmakers in Kentucky and Tennessee to enforce a total ban on gender-affirming care for minors have been blocked by federal judges: puberty blockers and hormone therapy will remain legal, but both state bans on gender-affirming surgeries will still be implemented. Meanwhile, a similar bill in North Carolina will go into effect. And much like in the case of Kentucky, the GOP can block the Democratic governor’s veto.

In his ruling, Tennessee Judge Eli Richardson stated that such efforts to ban care “impose disparate treatment on the basis of sex.”

“To summarize the Court’s findings on the alleged harms and benefits of the medical procedures banned under SB1, the Court ultimately finds that the weight of the evidence at this stage in the proceedings does not support Defendants’ allegations that either puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones pose serious risks to the minors receiving these treatments for gender dysphoria,” Richardson wrote.

GOP FIGHTING BACK: Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron pushed back against the reversal in Kentucky. "These procedures are not based on science, threaten the safety of minors, and have irreversible life-long consequences on children’s health,” Cameron said.  

“This is why other countries have moved to restrict such treatments, citing a lack of medical evidence and considerable long-term risks, and have called for the kind of protections contained in [Senate Bill] 150.”

Subscribe to The Lede

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson