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June 30, 2023

Chris Jackson Shares Insights on SCOTUS Ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis

updated 7/6/23

Holland & Hart appellate partner Chris Jackson shares insights with several media outlets discussing the US Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis. In a 6-3 decision, the high court ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits a state from compelling a website designer to create a same-sex wedding website with content that conflicts with her sincerely held belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Jackson joined Law360’s The Term podcast, with co-hosts Natalie Rodriguez and Steven Trader, providing highlights on the high court’s opinion, commenting, “In this case, according to the Supreme Court, this was expressive conduct, but I don’t know how much guidance the majority is really giving us going forward…we really don’t have a good way I think of assessing where we move from speech over to conduct.”

Colorado Politics reviewed the majority opinion in 303 Creative v. Elenis focusing on Justice Gorsuch’s reference to the 2021 dissenting opinion of Judge Timothy Tymkovich of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jackson commented, “Gorsuch’s opinion wasn’t as provocative, but it came out about the same way," adding, "I think the biggest way we saw Judge Tymkovich’s influence was on how the case was litigated (and ultimately decided) at the Supreme Court.”

He also discussed the ruling with The Denver Post, sharing, “You can’t compel wedding websites…but what about renting a venue, providing tables and chairs, what about providing floral arrangements? Where the line is drawn on what is protected speech and what is discrimination is now tougher to know.”

Talking with Law Week Colorado, Jackson shared, “To me, this opinion is in line with where the newly constituted 6-3 conservative Supreme Court is going in — that it’s emphasizing the First Amendment,” adding, “It is reading the First Amendment in an expansive way, and is doing so particularly in cases involving religion and public life.”

Read more and listen to Law360’s The Term Podcast here: “The Term: The Court Closes With LGBTQ Rights, Biden Plan,” June 30, 2023 (subscription needed).

Read the Colorado Politics article here: “Colorado's Timothy Tymkovich channeled in 303 Creative decision from SCOTUS,” June 30, 2023 (subscription needed).

Read The Denver Post article here: "Colorado wedding website designer can refuse gay customers, U.S. Supreme Court rules,” June 30, 2023 (subscription needed).

Read the Law Week Colorado article here: “What the 303 Creative Ruling Means for Colorado, Beyond,” July 6, 2023 (subscription needed).


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