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Political Science Discussion Question

Political Science Discussion Question


In the made-up example, a florist turned down the opportunity to provide floral arrangements for a lesbian couple’s wedding because of her Christian convictions. The issue is whether a state can demand that publicly accessible enterprises offer “full and equal” services to clients regardless of their sexual orientation. As a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, I would base my decision on how the Constitution, the legal precedents, and the principles of equal protection and religious freedom should be interpreted.

There are a few crucial legal ideas that must be taken into account when examining this case:

    Public Accommodations: Establishments or services accessible to the general public fall within the definition of public accommodations. Courts have historically acknowledged the government’s interest in ensuring everyone has equal access to the goods and services provided by such enterprises.

    Free Exercise of Religion: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees religious freedom. This implies that people can practice their religion without excessive government intrusion.

    The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment ensures that everyone will be treated fairly regarding the law. A higher standard of scrutiny is applied to discrimination based on traits like color, gender, and in this case, sexual orientation.

Given these legal principles, the main concern is balancing the florist’s religious convictions and the couple’s legal right to equality. The matter might be handled in a way that respects the gay couple’s rights and the florist’s ability to practice her religion freely.

In making my choice, I would take the following into account:

    Does the state have a compelling reason to control publicly accessible enterprises to maintain fairness? This can entail defending the rights and dignity of marginalized communities like the LGBTQ+ one.

    Is the state’s mandate that companies provide “full and equal” services to all clients necessary and narrowly circumscribed to serve its compelling interest? Or, to put it another way, is there a less onerous way to accomplish the same thing without unreasonably interfering with the florist’s religious beliefs?

    Precedents: Exist any pertinent legal precedents that have dealt with such issues? It may be possible to learn from earlier Supreme Court rulings how to strike a compromise between the conflicting interests at stake.

I would tend to favor the gay couple, given the principles of equal protection and the legal trends of recent years that have strengthened LGBTQ+ rights. I would probably conclude that while the florist has the right to her religious convictions, those convictions cannot be used to justify depriving a protected class of people of services. The need for equal treatment would likely be recognized as a tightly focused regulation because of the state’s compelling interest in protecting against discrimination and providing equal access to public accommodations.

It is crucial to remember that this choice would have to be made in light of the case’s particulars, the legal arguments put up by both parties and the current state of the law. The relationship between equal protection and religious freedom is complicated and can change based on the circumstances and legal changes.

Political Science Discussion Question



“If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like them all the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.” Justice Antonin Scalia

Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, in the above statement, has depicted the dilemma that federal judges are faced with when deciding on whether an act, law or executive is constitutional. This task seems reasonable and attainable; however, as advocates of the Constitution, the Supreme Court Justices are held to a certain standard when given the task of safeguarding the Constitution. Similar to the president, justices of the Supreme Court must make their decisions based on the facts and laws of the case, while putting aside any personal attachments or feelings regarding the morality of their choice. So, for this week’s discussion post, I would like you to take a look at the hypothetical below and tell me how you would conclude if you were a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hypothetical #1 

A florist has refused to provide floral arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding because of her Christian beliefs. Can astate require that businesses open to the public provide “full and equal” services to customers without regard to their sexual orientation? Please discuss how you would rule in this case. Remember to incorporate terms/concepts from this week’s module.

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