DeSantis' Anti-Drag Show Law Gets Struck Down by Supreme Court; Huge Blow To Florida

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 11/16/2023
On Thursday, the Supreme Court made a decision to deny temporary relief to Florida. This decision upheld a previous ruling by a lower court, which had blocked a state law in Florida. The law in question aimed to prohibit children from attending "adult live performances" that were deemed to be "lewd" in nature.

The court's shadow docket is a process where petitioners can request emergency relief while waiting for their case to be formally decided after oral arguments. In this particular case, the decision was made through the shadow docket.

The law's enforcement was temporarily blocked by a federal district judge's ruling in July, and the court upheld this ruling by a 6-3 vote. The plaintiff in this particular case is an Orlando restaurant chain. They have filed a lawsuit in response to the Protection of Children Act, which was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis during the same month. The First Amendment's free speech clause has been widely criticized for being violated by the law.

Drag shows are not explicitly mentioned in the law. However, the law does provide a definition for "adult live performance." According to this definition, an adult live performance refers to any type of show, exhibition, or presentation that is conducted in the presence of a live audience. This performance, either in its entirety or partially, involves the depiction or simulation of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, specific sexual activities, lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.

The lower court, in its ruling earlier this year, stated that the law in question has been specifically crafted with the intention of suppressing the speech of drag queen performers. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the court responsible for hearing the case, has recently rejected Florida's emergency request to reinstate the law.

In the Supreme Court's decision to deny relief, it was noted that Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas expressed their support for allowing Florida to enforce the law. However, it is important to highlight that the law will continue to be blocked until the 11th Circuit issues a ruling. On the other hand, the remaining six justices did not find the petition convincing.


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