It’s summertime, I know, and anybody with any sense is hiking in the Never Summers or camping at Turquoise Lake where it’s cool, so you might have missed the latest evidence that, yes, the U.S. Supreme Court is most definitely absurd.
The decision was handed down a couple weeks ago, but as more information emerges, it keeps getting increasingly ridiculous.
Even for a court stuck in a tar pit of ethical lapses and the thrall of political manipulation, the case of the devoutly religious homophobe who creates websites for weddings based on her interpretation of the Bible strains credulity.
I’m talking about the big win for Lorie Smith, the Littleton graphic designer who prevailed in her case challenging Colorado’s public accommodation law, which protects customers from being denied goods and services based on, among other things, their race, creed, disability or sexual orientation.
Smith claimed it was against her religion to build a website for a same-sex couple’s wedding. The six conservative justices agreed.
The whole thing is nuts. I mean, I went to Catholic school and learned about all kinds of wacky ways to sin, but wedding website design is a mind-blowing new frontier.
And in 2023, lying to the U.S. Supreme Court apparently is a sacred right. Go figure.
OK, OK, so, maybe Smith’s lawyers are correct in saying it wasn’t exactly lying, just making random stuff up to convince judges your case has all-important legal standing.
But even in this Orwellian era when lies are truth and truth is a lie, this is an audacious example of what in another context might be called perjury.
It’s all right there buried in the court documents. An appendix includes a form said to be submitted to Smith by someone named “Stewart,” who was requesting a design for invitations to his wedding to “Mike.” “We might also stretch to a website,” it said.
The form included Stewart’s first name and his contact information, so a reporter for The New Republic, who had the good sense to read the documents in the case — all of them — called the guy.
Stewart was stunned.
Turns out he’s a straight guy, who’s been married — happily — to a woman for 15 years. He is a supporter of gay rights and had no idea he was being used as a prop in the case.
In a further irony, Stewart is a web designer, and no way would he pay Lorie Smith — or anybody else — to create a site for him.
As for the fiancé, Mike, he doesn’t exist.
After Stewart was outed as a straight guy and denied any part in this fiasco, Smith’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner, said during a news conference that she still thinks the request was really, really real … um … or possibly the product of a troll.
A holy one, I’m sure.
But lest anybody think exposing this supreme deception will make any difference, Waggoner stands ready to dispel such high-minded notions of fairness and legal ethics.
This, after all, was a pre-enforcement challenge.
It was a just-in-case case.
The basis for it was not the obviously fraudulent request for service and the moral dilemma that would create for Smith, but the possibility that someday, sometime, somehow she might get an authentic request for a wedding website from a gay couple.
Oh, the horrors.
Attorney General Phil Weiser has criticized the high court for even taking a “made-up case” that had no “basis in reality.”
He’s undeniably disappointed about being on the losing side of this case, but he’s not alone in his attitude toward the court.
Polls show a disturbing number of Americans — 49% according to the Pew Research Center — think the Supreme Court has gone off the rails and is dominated by a bunch of rank political hacks.
But despite that, it’s still a big win for Lorie Smith in more ways than one.
On and off for years, her name has been in the news thanks to the court case. The whole thing is a marketing goldmine, a professional dream come true.
Her business doing websites and creating merch for conservative political candidates and religious organizations is thriving.
Cha-ching and halleluiah!
The Alliance for Defending Freedom, the conservative legal shop that bankrolled Smith’s case, really delivered for her.
Still, for someone as seemingly devout as Smith, a Supreme Court victory based on a lie seems like confession material to me.
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