After the Supreme Court upheld Christian graphic designer Lorie Smith’s legal challenge to Colorado’s anti-discrimination law last week, the media seized on reports that a customer requesting a same-sex wedding mentioned in court filings appeared to be fake.
“The revelation has led to complaints on social media that the case should never have made it as far as the Supreme Court, with many arguing that Smith didn’t have legal standing to bring the case if there weren’t any customers seeking her services,” an NBC News article explained.
Legal experts however, shot down these arguments in NBC’s report.
“Though I think the [Supreme Court] opinion is misguided in many ways, I do think she has standing,” Carolyn Shapiro, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law said.
Civil rights attorney Jonathan Miller agreed, telling the outlet, “pre-enforcement review is generally good” and “needed to ensure unconstitutional laws don’t go into effect.” However, Miller believed the fake customer raised “serious questions about the facts and record in this case.”
Other attorneys argued to NBC that the customer was irrelevant to the case, because they were not mentioned in the majority opinion or dissent, and the request was sent after Smith’s complaint against the state was filed and picked up by the media.
Biden administration officials and media reports over the weekend tried to cast doubt on Smith’s legal standing after the revelation was first reported by The New Republic.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested the bogus customer proved the court’s First Amendment argument had no merit.
“The fact that this was relief from a situation that may have never happened in the first place tells you everything you need to know about this agenda to use every instrument of government, courts and legislatures, to claw back at these rights for people who were just trying to go about their lives and just trying to be treated equally by businesses and by the government,” he said Sunday on CNN.
“But tolerance, not coercion, is our Nation’s answer. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands. Because Colorado seeks to deny that promise, the judgment is reversed,” he concluded.
Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.