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The Supreme Court Just Refused This Anti-Gay Florist’s Case – Some Legal Experts Suggest This Debate Isn’t Over Yet



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.

Lambda Legal’s Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer:

Supreme Court correspondent for The Economist:

Director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project:



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‘Lying’: Johnson Slammed for Latest Claim on Trump Respecting Peaceful Transfer of Power



Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Wednesday celebrated Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with House and Senate Republicans, barely blocks away from where the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy itself took place. Many hold the-then president and his “Big Lie” responsible for the insurrection, and he has been indicted on charges related to it.

Johnson was asked if the ex-president is committed to and respects the peaceful transfer of power.

The Speaker’s response has angered some critics.

Johnson has a tenuous grip on his gavel and on the House GOP majority. He has already faced one vote to remove him, and survived it thanks to House Democrats. To shore up his power, Johnson has traveled to Mar-a-Lago to appear with the indicted and now criminally-convicted ex-president, and has promoted several pieces of legislation critics say only serve as messaging vehicles to please Trump.

Pointing out that this will be he first time Trump has met with both House and Senate Republicans in D.C. since the January 6 insurrection, a reporter Wednesday morning asked the Speaker, “are you committed or have you spoken about basically not doing anything like that again and committing to respecting the American tradition of peaceful transfer?”

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

Johnson, whose emotions are often on view, repeatedly frown and looked irritated as the reporter spoke.

“Of course he respects that,” Johnson said frustratedly. “And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

“We’re excited to welcome President Trump back and he’ll be meeting with the Senate Republicans of course, after he has a breakfast with us. And there’s high anticipation here and great excitement.”

Ahead of Johnson’s remarks CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane had posted where Thursday’s meeting with House Republicans and Donald Trump will take place.

If there were no question about Donald Trump’s commitment to the peaceful transfer of power – and there is given to this day he calls insurrectionists, “warriors,” “victims,” “hostages,” and “patriots” – the Speaker would not need to be discussing it “ad nauseam.”

As a backbencher before being elevated to Speaker, Johnson was not just a little-known congressman, he was an architect of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Johnson spread election fraud conspiracy theories and lies, as a CNN investigation published in April confirmed.

READ MORE: Speaker Johnson on Why He Thinks Hunter Biden’s Conviction Is Valid but Donald Trump’s Is Not

Also back in April, Johnson tried to rewrite history, whitewashing the role of insurrectionists and those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, saying some of them were “innocent, you know, people who were there and just happened to be walking through the building.”

Highlighting those remarks, The New Republic reported, “the Republican leader seemed to suggest that the 2,000 people who charged the halls, destroyed federal property, and interrupted the peaceful presidential transfer of power—1,265 of whom have been charged by federal authorities—were actually mere innocent bystanders.”

Critics were quick to call out Johnson’s remarks.

Veteran journalist John Harwood responded, saying, “by lying here, Johnson shows he understands that what he and House GOP helped Trump do in Jan 2021, and what Trump intends to do again if necessary, is wrong.”

He added, “if he weren’t ashamed of it, he’d tell the truth.”

Award-winning CNBC/NBC News reporter Carl Quintanilla responded to Johnson’s remarks with a 4-second clip of a someone who appears to be attacking law enforcement with the American flag on January 6.

“Bullshit,” declared former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh. “Trump is humanly incapable of accepting an election loss. He will NEVER respect the peaceful transfer of power. And Mike Johnson knows that.”

The Biden campaign reposted the video and remarked, “(No, he clearly does not).”

Media critic and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob responded with: “Mike Johnson is a lying traitor.”

Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn wrote: “Given that Trump has promised to pardon the 1/6 insurrectionist rioters who attacked the Capitol, he’s not showing much respect for the rule of law or the peaceful transfer of power. Johnson is lying for Trump. That’s not very Biblical.”

Watch Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

See the video and social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Many Republicans Don’t Believe Trump Was Indicted or Aren’t Sure – But Say He’s Not Guilty


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Katie Britt Was So Outraged Over Democrats’ Contraception Bill She Didn’t Even Vote



U.S. Senator Katie Britt on Tuesday signed onto a GOP statement denouncing Democrats’ Right to Contraception legislation to protect the right to access, use, and prescribe contraception, falsely claiming the bill infringed on religious liberties and would provide “condoms to little kids.” On Wednesday, the freshman Republican from Alabama, who insists she supports contraception, chose to not even vote.

At least eight in ten Americans support the Democrats’ bill, including 90% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans, and 70% of independents, according to Navigator Research.

In total, twenty-six Senate Republicans signed onto that statement, which was put out by U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL). Sen. Scott is running to replace Republican Leader Mitch McConnell when he retires. Senator Scott’s published positions are so extreme even Senator McConnell denounced them.

Senator Britt is likely best-known for delivering the Republicans’ official response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address. Fact-checkers had a field day with her “highly misleading” speech, destroying her suggestion President Biden’s policies were responsible for a woman who became a victim of sex-trafficking, which began in 2004, and happened in Mexico, not the U.S.

READ MORE: Comer Refers Hunter Biden to DOJ After Report of His Own ‘Spectacularly Wrong’ Chinese Venture

In a Senate floor speech this week before the failed vote, Britt accused Democrats of using “scare tactics” while falsely claiming the right to access, use, and prescribe contraception is not at risk.

“The goal of my Democrat colleagues right now is to scare the American people, to scare women across our great nation,” she declared, according to the text of her speech on her government website. “It’s not that they believe there is a problem they’re truly trying to solve. They’re prioritizing their own short-term partisan political interests. Sadly, this only does a disservice to the very families and the very women we should be trying to find common ground to help. We saw the false fearmongering with the MOMS Act. We’ve already seen it with issues like IVF. Just like with nationwide access to contraception, I want to make it clear that Republicans support continued nationwide access to IVF.”

But contraception is at risk.

In his 2022 concurring opinion on the Supreme Court decision stripping women of the constitutional right to abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a call for cases to challenge a landmark ruling, Griswold v. Connecticut, which found a constitutional right to contraception. Justice Thomas targeted all rulings that found a right to privacy, which the far-right justices believe does not exist in the Constitution. Should he be successful, the Court theoretically would strike down settled decisions that include the right to contraception, the right to same-sex intimate relations, and the right to marriage for same-sex couples.

“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote in 2022. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

And according to the Guttmacher Institute, “12 states allow some health care providers to refuse to provide services related to contraception.”

READ MORE: Trump Just Suggested Jailing His Political Opponents – and MAGA Has a Plan in Place

In her speech, Senator Britt mentioned the “MOMS Act,” her bill to help mothers, including those needing pre- and post-natal care. In a speech announcing her bill last month, Britt said her “legislation is especially important for Alabama because our state is in critical need of a strengthened support system for moms. Over a third of our state’s 67 counties are classified as maternal care deserts. And Alabama has the highest maternal mortality rate in the entire nation. The status quo is totally unacceptable, and I’m not going to stop working in this arena to advance meaningful solutions.”

What Britt neglected to mention is women’s access to prenatal care is rapidly diminishing in states with bans on abortion, because OB-GYNs are terrified of being arrested for providing necessary medical care.

On Thursday, calling Britt’s “condoms to little kids” claim a “weird lie,” Salon‘s Amanda Marcotte wrote: “Republicans use two big, interlocking lies to conceal an anti-contraception agenda from the public. First, they deny they intend to take birth control away, by limiting their definition of “birth control’ to condoms and the rhythm method. To justify that shell game, they lie about how the most popular and effective forms of birth control work, claiming they are ‘abortion.’ They ping-pong between these two lies, so that the fact-checkers can never keep up. ”

In her Senate floor speech Senator Britt said, “I want to be absolutely, 100% clear, that I support continued nationwide access to contraception.”

Sen. Britt, who calls herself a “proud champion for life,” does not appear to have ever defined what supporting continued nationwide access to contraception actually means.

Overall, nine Republicans and one Democrat (Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey) abstained from casting a vote on the Right to Contraception Act. The procedural vote needed 60 votes to move forward, It failed, 51-39. All no votes were from Republicans, except the no vote from Majority Leader Schumer, required to allow him to bring the bill again for a vote. All other Democrats who voted, voted “yea.” Only two Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, voted yes with the Democrats.

READ MORE: Johnson Says GOP Will Defund DOJ in Retaliation for Trump Conviction



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Comer Refers Hunter Biden to DOJ After Report of His Own ‘Spectacularly Wrong’ Chinese Venture



Less than twenty-fours hours after a damning report revealed House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer used his office as then-Kentucky Secretary of Agriculture to import for a campaign donor hemp seed from China that ultimately tested as marijuana, the Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committee chairmen referred Hunter Biden and President Joe Biden’s brother, James Biden, to the U.S. Dept. of Justice for criminal prosecution, for allegedly lying.

House Committees typically take votes on criminal referrals, but Chairman Comer, along with Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, and Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith skipped any hearings or votes on the referral and shot off a joint letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Special Counsel prosecuting Hunter Biden on gun-related charges, David Weiss.

“No vote, just the direct referral,” reported HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney.

READ MORE: ‘Condoms to Little Kids’: Republicans Rejecting Contraception Bill Claim Religious Infringement

The move to refer the Bidens to DOJ also comes just one day after Attorney General Garland sat for nearly five hours before Chairman Jordan’s Judiciary Committee, where he was attacked for the State of New York’s criminal prosecution of Donald Trump. State and federal prosecutions are entirely separate and Garland had no oversight of that investigation and subsequent prosecution, trial, or conviction by jury.

It also comes just days after a New York jury convicted Donald Trump on 34 criminal felony counts of falsifying business records in an effort to cover up a conspiracy to protect and promote his presidential campaign by “unlawful means.”

The Daily Beast‘s Roger Sollenberger on Tuesday reported Chairman Comer “has hounded the Bidens over China and business ventures” while “state records reveal his own involvement in a hemp import plan gone spectacularly wrong.”

Sollenberger reported, “The Daily Beast obtained [documents] after the Kentucky government released them to a third party in response to open records requests.” Those documents “contain a stunning revelation: While the emails show the involved parties clearly intended to import only legal hemp, two rounds of tests revealed the plants were essentially Chinese pot, containing illegally high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Chairmen Comer, Jordan, and Smith published their letter, which accuses both Hunter Biden and James Biden of “lies.”

Despite being unable to provide any evidence that could lead to a successful impeachment of President Joe Biden, an effort House Republicans began one day after he was inaugurated, Comer on social media claimed the committees “today sent criminal referrals to the DOJ recommending Hunter and James Biden be charged with making false statements to Congress about key aspects of the impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.”

“These false statements implicate Joe Biden’s knowledge of and role in his family’s influence peddling schemes and appear to be a calculated effort to shield Joe Biden from the impeachment inquiry.”

READ MORE: Trump Just Suggested Jailing His Political Opponents – and MAGA Has a Plan in Place

Back in March, Chairman Comer’s impeachment efforts in tatters, ABC News reported criminal referrals might be his “exit strategy.”

“At the end of the day, what does accountability look like? It looks like criminal referrals. It looks like referring people to the Department of Justice,” Comer said.

“The notion of issuing criminal referrals,” ABC added, “as part of the probe has gained traction among senior Republicans on Capitol Hill as the prospects of impeaching President Biden have dulled, multiple sources told ABC News, with one congressional Republican bluntly describing the move as an “exit strategy.”

See the letter below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Utterly Horrible’: Trump’s Putin Claim Ignites Anger, Again

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