Friday, June 30, 2023

So I Can Still Reserve The Right To Refuse Service *

*A staple of the civil rights movement/pre-Civil Rights Act era. In the movie “Giant,” when Bick Bendict gets the shit kicked out of him by the owner of a diner who refuses to serve his Mexican daughter-in-law, the owner tosses that sign on Benedict as he lies beaten on the floor. The’64 Civil Rights Act slowly made those signs obsolete.

Please note that, thanks to that Act, you can’t refuse to host and/or make a website for a customer based on race. Sexual orientation? Your prejudice is protected by the 1st amendment.

Is this a great country, or what?

(The tweet frames the issue very badly. The question is not: can the government force you to create websites bearing messages you disagree with. The issue is: can the government stand by and allow you to refuse your services in interstate commerce to anyone whose message you don’t like?

(In the cases where the Supremes decided racial covenants that run with the land cannot be enforced, the Court held that the judiciary could not participate in enforcing such covenants because racism is a pernicious evil the courts could not endorse, even if the courts didn’t write the covenants (i.e., were not directly responsible for them).

(Bias against sexual preference has never been recognized as a pernicious evil by the courts. Then again, it took until the 1960’s to recognize racism in law was pernicious (yes, that’s a term of art). Before that? Eh, not so much.

(The state of Colorado was not forcing anyone to provide website services to the public. It simply said: if you do, you can’t discriminate in who you offer your services to. 

(But the Civil Rights Act (‘64) doesn’t protect sexual preference. So the court reached for the First Amendment. Raising the question: if Congress amended the ‘64 CRA, would this Court say: “Well, that’s different!” Or would it say: “First Amendment rules!”

(Because, you know, refusing to build a website and add your proprietary touches to it, is different than: “We don’t serve your kind.” One is free speech, and the other is just…not?

(Yeah, I don’t understand it, either. But now I’m wondering how long it will take to challenge Civil Rights Act precedent as now violations of the first amendment?

(I mean, if the reasoning of that tweet is valid…)

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