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Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson invoked a classic Christmas movie and racism during oral arguments in a First Amendment case out of Colorado at the Supreme Court Monday.
The case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, centers around Lorie Smith, a Colorado web designer who sued Colorado over anti-discrimination laws, claiming that the law compelled her to express support for same-sex marriage. A divided panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled against Smith in 2021.
“I want to do video depictions of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and knowing that movie very well, I want to be authentic, and so only white children and families can be customers for that particular product. Everybody else… I will sell them anything they want, just not the It’s a Wonderful Life’ depictions,” Brown Jackson said to attorney Kristen Waggoner, CEO, President, and General Counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“I‘m expressing something, right? … I can say anti-discrimination laws can’t make me sell ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ packages to non-white individuals.”
“I would say first of all … when there is a message and a status and it’s overlapping, the court would say that message wins in that instance,” Waggoner responded.
Jackson pressed the point in further questions to Waggoner.
“I have certain products I will only sell to white individuals because the speech that I‘m trying to depict is the authentic depiction of that scene as I understand it, and that I want to put out there in the world and it has my signature on the bottom of it, so people are seeing my photos and I want my photos of ‘It‘s a Wonderful Life’ to be authentic, meaning no people of color,” Jackson said, continuing the hypothetical.
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