The U.S. Supreme Court won’t allow Florida to enforce its drag ban.
The high court denied a petition from the state asking for it to intervene in a federal case challenging the constitutionality of the law. A federal judge struck down the law in June, but the state wants the ability to enforce the statute while it appeals the ruling.
Attorneys challenging the law cheered court win, though the case still has to be heard by appellate judges.
“We are thrilled with today’s order from the Supreme Court,” said civil rights attorney Melissa Stewart. “The preliminary injunction will continue to protect the free speech rights of not just Hamburger Mary’s, but all Floridians.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh issued a brief denying an application by Florida to stay lower court rulings.
“Because this Court is not likely to grant certiorari on the only issue presented in Florida’s stay application, it is appropriate for the Court to deny the application,” wrote Kavanaugh, an appointee of Republican President Donald Trump.
Kavanaugh signaled it’s unlikely the high court will ever hear the Florida case. He also wrote that since the matter at hand involved a First Amendment issue, it was an “imperfect vehicle” for deciding if states could enforce laws while appealing court rulings. He was joined in the decision by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, another Trump nominee.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, all Republican appointments to the court, dissented and would have granted the stay, according to Kavanaugh’s brief.
Hamburger Mary’s is an Orlando restaurant that sued the state after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law threatening business licenses of any venue allowing children into live entertainment shows deemed as inappropriate. While lawmakers behind the ban insisted it did not target drag shows, the bill sponsor said he was inspired to seek the limitation based on a drag queen story hour event at a Pride event in the state.
Florida attorneys last month asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case. But since Supreme Court justices have declined to do so, that means the state can’t enforce the law.