The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday announced it would not take up the case of Arlene’s Flowers, a Washington state florists owned by Barronelle Stutzman, who in 2013 refused a same-sex couple’s wedding request. The case was a darling of the religious right, the far right, and her hate group attorneys, who falsely parroted the claim that because Stutzman was following her religious beliefs, the elderly florist may lose her business, her home, and her savings. It was a line repeated by many on the right. And it’s false.
“Barronelle Stutzman is now going to lose her business, her life savings, and possibly her own home for putting her faith into practice,” then-Fox News pundit Erick Erickson claimed, incorrectly, in 2015.
The State of Washington at one point tried to settle with Stutzman for $2000 but she refused, and with her activist Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, went to trial. A Washington judge found Stutzman violated the Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination, and fined her $1000, $1 in legal costs, and enjoined her from further acts of discrimination.
Stutzman could have stopped pursuing legal channels, and agreed to follow the laws of the state her business operates in, but she refused. She could have settled for $1000, or $2000, but she refused.
She lost at every turn.
Her attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, fundraised off her case for years.
Now, it’s finally over – although Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch declared they would have taken up the case.
That the Supreme Court refused to hear this case reinforces that its ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case – the Colorado Baker, Jack Phillips, who “won” at the Supreme Court in an extremely narrow ruling – was not about the Court opposing the rights of LGBTQ people, it was what it said it was: the Supreme Court believed Phillips’ case was handled with animus against his religious rights by Colorado authorities.
Legal experts are weighing in on what some are calling a victory today. Some are optimistic, but the first take here is likely the correct one: the Supreme Court is not finished with the construct of LGBTQ rights vs. religious extremism.
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern and Vox’s Ian Millhiser agree: right wing activists on the Supreme Court are being very selective about the LGBTQ rights case they want to take up, presumably so they can craft the anti-LGBTQ ruling in a manner they prefer.
If you’re wondering why SCOTUS did not take up Arlene’s Flowers and grant businesses a sweeping First Amendment right to discriminate against LGBTQ people, I think this is a good theory. ADF’s lawyers are really terrible. Becket’s are excellent. https://t.co/Hauz5MsLTW
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 2, 2021
Lambda Legal’s Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer:
The denial of cert (at long last) in Arlene’s Flowers is welcome news indeed. Remember that case was sent back for further review after Masterpiece Cakeshop. WA SCT gave this case another careful examination & reached same conclusion. Now it’s finally over. Yay. https://t.co/X2a8yqy8MC
— Sharon_McGowan (@SharonMcGowanDC) July 2, 2021
Supreme Court correspondent for The Economist:
This is surprising because (1) 6 members of the Court have shown substantial deference to claims for religious exemptions; (2) it takes only 4 votes to hear a case; & (3) justices commonly give a courtesy 4th vote when 3 want to hear it. No “J-4” from Roberts, Kavanaugh, Barrett. https://t.co/1jfa4Og5js
— Steven Mazie (@stevenmazie) July 2, 2021
Director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project:
Hopeful signs: SCOTUS not only refused to create a constitutional license to discriminate in Fulton v. Philadelphia, but this morning it denied review in Arlene’s Flowers, where WA S.Ct. had said there is no such right.
The result: businesses need to remain open to all!
— James Esseks (@JamesEsseks) July 2, 2021
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Fetterman Vows to GOP ‘Jagoffs’ He Will ‘Save Democracy by Wearing a Suit’ but He Has Two Conditions
Amid several days of right-wing, Republican, and Fox News outrage targeting U.S. Senator John Fetterman after Senators were told they may now wear casual attire on the floor, the Pennsylvania Democrat is promising to “save democracy by wearing a suit,” but he has two conditions.
Senator Fetterman stands at least six feet eight inches tall and weighs in at 270 pounds, according to The Washington Post, which attempted this week to debunk right-wing conspiracy theories that he has a “body double.”
He is known for wearing Carhartt sweatshirts and shorts more often than suits and ties, and after he was elected last year many in the media worried how he would transition to the more formal restrictions expected of sitting U.S. Senators. As it turns out there is no actual “dress code” that applies to Senators, and some, like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have taken advantage of that fact on occasion.
Ted Cruz came in t shirt and shorts and nobody said boo. pic.twitter.com/PSRqhKm48x
— Myron Nelson (@Myronnelson) September 19, 2023
Some, like one menswear editor, have taken the opportunity to mock other unique dress aspects of some political figures.
i hope republicans institute a stricter dress code
1. no low-rise pants with short jackets and insane shoes
2. no black dress shirts with light-colored ties; no suits without a jacket
3. no tan shoes with dark suits; no dress sneakers or “fun socks”
4. no scotch tape on ties https://t.co/rAMx7S8uia pic.twitter.com/AkXYfWkoQf
— derek guy (@dieworkwear) September 20, 2023
On Tuesday Sen. Fetterman mocked his detractors, including Fox News, which has aired at least several segments on his casual attire while suggesting the relaxed enforcement of the already non-existent “dress code” in the nation’s top deliberative body is an example of the “decline of standards in everything.”
One of Fetterman’s detractors has been having her own challenges this week: U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), caught vaping, taking photos, and allegedly engaged in sexual groping during a performance of a family-friendly musical.
In response to a Fox News social media post that claimed “People are furious after the Senate dropped its dress code requirement,” Sen. Fetterman said: “I figure if I take up vaping and grabbing the hog during a live musical, they’ll make me a folk hero.”
On Wednesday, Fetterman continued his colorful remarks, while mocking his critics – namely, House Republicans – who, he suggested, feel sweats are the end of the American republic.
The House is currently mired in “chaos,” a word Reuters, Fox News, MSNBC, The Hill, Axios, The Washington Post, and others have used to described the state of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s conference just eleven days before what appears to be a likely shutdown of the federal government. It appears less and less likely Republicans will be able to pass legislation that will keep the government open after September 30, and continue funding Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
“If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week,” Sen. Fetterman wrote.
See the social media photos above or at this link.
‘Declaring the Office of Speaker to Be Vacant’: Reporter Finds Possible Gaetz Resolution in House Restroom
A reporter says he found a House resolution dated just days ago, with marks identifying it as from U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s office that would, if passed remove Congressman Kevin McCarthy from his elected role as Speaker of the House, according to New York Magazine.
Journalist Matt Laslo, who is also a former Johns Hopkins University professor and has bylines at Wired, Vice, Rolling Stone, and Raw Story, posted photos of the document (below) and wrote on social media: “Found on a baby changing table in restroom underneath House floor: ‘Declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant,’ from Rep. @mattgaetz, Sept. 15, 2023, 11:22am.”
There is no confirmation the document is authentic, and it could have been intentionally placed there by anyone, just so a reporter would find it, but even if drawn up or left as a joke it is yet another indication of the acrimony and hostility building among House Republicans over the likely impending government shutdown. On Tuesday, after a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running for another 30 days was scrapped, Fox News described Speaker McCarthy as being “in a bind as GOP factions, and factions within factions, [are] at loggerheads.”
As a condition of being elected Speaker, Kevin McCarthy agreed to allow any one member file a “motion to vacate,” meaning a motion to remove him as Speaker. It would require a vote in the House. In January NBC News reported it would require a simple majority vote to oust McCarthy under the rules he agreed to.
Last week Rep. Gaetz threatened to remove McCarthy.
“Because McCarthy probably has enough votes to survive any coup attempt, Gaetz’s threat is probably empty. But the method of the leak here is worth noting — either a brilliant or extremely dumb way to pass off information in Congress,” New York Magazine reports.
“Oh. My. God. The Republican House is in complete shambles. What a joke,” Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and Senior Advisor to former Obama Cabinet Secretary Julián Castro, wrote in response to Laslo’s post on social media.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona responded, “omg.”
Punchbow News cofounder Jake Sherman offered the most dramatic yet noncommittal response:
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 19, 2023
See the social media post and photos above or at this link.
‘I Dress Like He Campaigns’: Fetterman Smacks Down DeSantis Amid Sweeping Right Wing Attack on His Attire
U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) is striking back amid attacks on his iconically casual attire led by Republican lawmakers and Fox News.
Senator Fetterman, who often wears sweatshirts instead of suits, found himself once again targeted in the past few days.
“The Senate no longer enforcing a dress code for Senators to appease Fetterman is disgraceful. Dress code is one of society’s standards that set etiquette and respect for our institutions. Stop lowering the bar!” demanded U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
Over at Fox News, co-host Greg Gutfeld, wearing a shirt, no tie, and sneakers, insisted “women know how to dress. They enjoy looking good,” while admitting, “men enjoy looking comfortable,” which is why “the dudes should stick to the suits.”
“This isn’t a poker game or a strip club,” he continued.
“It’s not going for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory,” Gutfeld added, lamenting the “decline of standards in everything.”
Co-host Dana Perino, presumably sarcastically, added: “You know, this happened in the fall of the Roman Empire. They let people wear togas everywhere. Next thing you know — no empire.”
Dana Perino on the Senate dress code change: “You know, this happened in the fall of the Roman Empire. They let people wear togas everywhere. Next thing you know — no empire.” pic.twitter.com/rZ6vUApDSm
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 18, 2023
Earlier on Fox News Business, Maria Bartiromo had told U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) there was a “cover up underway.”
“Chuck Schumer certainly didn’t consult with me,” Haggerty replied, discussing the new dress code.
“It’s just another step in the movement by the Democrats to ‘transform America,’ to take us to a different place, and to take us to a place that is much less respectful than we historically have been,” he claimed.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) attacks Majority Leader Chuck Schumer loosening the Senate’s informal dress code:
“It’s just another step in the movement by the Democrats to ‘Transform America’ … and to take us to a place that is much less respectful than we historically have been.” pic.twitter.com/XTtjbrhQGO
— The Recount (@therecount) September 18, 2023
And then there was Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, campaigning despite currently being behind Donald Trump by an average of 43.9 points, telling supporters that Senator Fetterman “has a lot of problems.”
“Let’s just be honest,” the governor said, “like, how he got elected, well – I mean, he got elected because they didn’t want the alternative but, um, he wears like sweatshirts and hoodies and shorts, and that’s his thing so he would campaign in that.”
DeSantis, wearing an outfit that is almost exactly a copy of Donald Trump’s regular red tie and blue suit, insisted America needs to be “lifting up our standards, not dumbing-down our standards.”
Senator Fetterman had a simple response: “I dress like he campaigns.”
I dress like he campaigns https://t.co/IXgGmIRNb4
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) September 18, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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