In early July 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), leaning heavily towards ultra-conservatism, deliberated on the highly controversial case of 303 Creative VS Elenis (CvE). The dispute revolved around the refusal of 303 Creative to provide graphic design services for a same-sex couple's wedding. Regrettably, the court's ruling was a grave misstep, and those who support it are misguided in their understanding of business law. In this analysis, we will delve into the intricacies of the case, examine the ruling's implications, and shed light on how and why the highest court in the nation erred so profoundly. Furthermore, we will uncover the preposterous consequences arising from this ruling.
A mere three years ago, Justice Gorsuch and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) astutely recognized that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provides protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, just as it safeguards individuals from sex-based discrimination. Dating back to 1964, Title VII has served as the cornerstone of anti-discriminatory legislation in the United States, imposing obligations upon businesses to adhere to its principles. It is important to acknowledge that the Supreme Court has previously ruled that Title VII protections extend to the provision of services to the public. This precedent has been established by the courts since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This interpretation recognizes that businesses, when engaged in serving the public, are subject to the anti-discrimination provisions outlined in Title VII. By acknowledging this legal precedent, it becomes apparent that the CvE case raises questions about the consistency and application of these established principles. The concerns regarding potential implications and the interpretation of the ruling stem from the perceived deviation from the precedent that has been established over the years.
The prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is deeply rooted in business law, to the extent that it is typically covered in Business Law 103 within undergraduate curricula. Furthermore, it is highly likely that it is addressed in general law classes as well. This principle has become so ingrained in the fabric of legal education that it is often taken for granted by most businesses. Consequently, compliance with this law has become second nature and is rarely a point of explicit consideration. The recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has generated profound shock and controversy precisely because it deviated from the established understanding and application of business law. Given the widespread acceptance and integration of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, the ruling's departure from this precedent has sparked significant public outcry and debate. The unexpected nature of the decision has intensified its controversial nature, causing further concern and scrutiny among legal experts and the general public alike.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) invoked the First Amendment as a justification to undermine the protections provided by Title VII in the CvE case. However, it appears that the SCOTUS misunderstood the nuanced relationship between the First Amendment and Title VII. While it is true that individuals and entities engaged in general content creation, such as writing books, producing TV shows, or giving speeches, are afforded the right to express their anti-gay views under the First Amendment, it is crucial to recognize that 303 Creative is not merely a general content creator. Rather, it is a business that offers a specific service to the public. Therefore, the case of 303 Creative falls squarely within the purview of Title VII, which prohibits discrimination in employment and services rendered based on various protected characteristics. Consequently, the argument that the First Amendment shields 303 Creative from complying with Title VII is misguided and overlooks the fact that their actions relate to the provision of a service to the public.
While it is generally prudent to approach the task of judging the motivations of a court with caution, in this particular context, considering the rulings from three years ago and the historical consistency in the interpretation of similar cases, as well as recent rulings by the SCOTUS that raise concerns, it becomes easier to infer the underlying motivations at play in this instance. By taking these factors into account, we can gain a clearer understanding of the motivations behind the decision.
Indeed, the traditional role of the court is to make rulings based on their interpretation of the Constitution and how it applies to the specific case at hand. In strict adherence to this principle, the case in question, being primarily a Title VII issue rather than a First Amendment issue, should not have been within the purview of the court. Since the matter at hand predominantly pertained to the application of Title VII, it would have been more appropriate for a lower court or administrative body responsible for interpreting and enforcing Title VII to handle the case. Thus, it raises questions about the decision to hear the case at the Supreme Court level, considering its primary nature as a Title VII issue rather than a First Amendment issue.
While it can be challenging to discuss sensitive matters, it is important to acknowledge concerns surrounding the potential influence of political bias on court decisions. Following the appointments of three justices by former President Trump, there have been statements suggesting a focus on cases that do not align with "conservative values," including the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the CvE case. These circumstances have led some to question whether political allegiance rather than strict adherence to the Constitution played a role in the Supreme Court's decision to hear this case. The CvE case predominantly centered on a Title VII issue rather than a First Amendment issue. It is important to distinguish between the two, as the primary concern revolved around the application of Title VII protections. The case should have been appropriately handled by lower courts or administrative bodies responsible for interpreting and enforcing Title VII, as it fell within their jurisdiction. The decision to bring this case before the Supreme Court may raise questions regarding its alignment with the constitutional scope and the nature of its subject matter
There is a prevalent misconception among the general public in the United States regarding the notion that businesses have an unrestricted right to refuse service for any reason. While there is some truth to the fact that businesses possess a degree of discretion in determining whom they serve, it is crucial to emphasize that all businesses are obligated to adhere to the protections outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, particularly Title VII. Consequently, it is incorrect to assume that businesses have an unfettered and unconditional right to refuse service based on their preferences alone. The civil rights legislation establishes boundaries and safeguards to ensure equal treatment and prohibit discrimination in various aspects of public accommodations and employment.
It is accurate to assert that individuals who claim otherwise or merely repeat the notion that businesses have an absolute right to refuse service lack any understanding of business law and the specific provisions outlined in the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act encompasses a wide range of legal protections against discrimination, including Title VII, which addresses discrimination. It is essential to have a nuanced comprehension of these laws to properly evaluate the limitations and obligations placed on businesses in relation to refusing service. Simply regurgitating generalized talking points without a deeper understanding of business law and the Civil Rights Act can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the legal framework in place.
The ruling in question carries significant implications, including concerns about its potential impact on the legality of discrimination. Some argue that the decision effectively permits discrimination by providing a precedent for refusing services based on personal beliefs. For instance, under the same line of reasoning, an atheist could potentially refuse service to Christians and lower courts could be compelled to uphold this refusal based on the Supreme Court's ruling. These potential implications raise valid concerns about the balance between religious freedom and anti-discrimination protections. It is important to carefully consider the broader consequences and the potential erosion of safeguards against discrimination that such interpretations may introduce. These matters often spark intense debate and call for a thoughtful examination of the principles of equality, religious freedom, and the legal boundaries that define acceptable conduct in a diverse society.
The potential implications and hypothetical scenarios surrounding the extent of the ruling's application raise important questions about the consistency of its interpretation and its implications for different religious beliefs or philosophical perspectives. It is uncertain how courts or individuals who support the ruling would respond to cases involving refusals of service by individuals or businesses adhering to different religious or philosophical views.
However, it is worth noting that anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII, are intended to provide protections against discrimination based on certain protected characteristics, such as race, religion, sex, and national origin. Ultimately, the boundaries and limitations of the ruling will likely be defined and clarified through further legal challenges, judicial interpretation, and potential legislative actions. It is essential to continue monitoring the legal landscape and engaging in thoughtful discussions to ensure that the principles of equality, fairness, and non-discrimination are upheld in a manner that respects the diverse beliefs and perspectives within society.
In summary, based on the constitutional nature of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the clear inclusion of Title VII protections, which have been affirmed to extend to services by the courts, it can be argued that the Supreme Court made a significant error in hearing the CvE case. Given the established legal framework and precedents, I contend that the Court overstepped its jurisdiction by taking up a case that primarily fell within the purview of Title VII and should have been handled by lower courts. This perspective suggests that the Court's decision was flawed and that the case should not have been brought before them in the first place. Yet the court heard the case, and got the ruling incorrect.