On Thursday, the Supreme Court dealt a setback to a significant initiative supported by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis by affirming the block on the Florida law that restricts drag shows in the state. Florida had sought to narrow a lower court’s injunction that prevented the law from being enforced statewide, but the Supreme Court declined to do so.
While Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch expressed a desire to allow the law to take effect, the majority, including Justices Brett Kavanaugh and, partially, Amy Coney Barrett, concurred with the court’s decision. In a brief statement, Kavanaugh and Barrett acknowledged the First Amendment complexities of the case, emphasizing that the matter was an “imperfect vehicle” for addressing some of the central questions in the dispute.
In June, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell, based in Orlando, issued a block on the measure, determining that it likely infringes upon the First Amendment’s commitment to free speech. The judge concluded that the law’s broad prohibitions were inadequately defined and posed a risk of outlawing constitutionally protected expression.
Hamburger Mary’s, known for hosting what it deems family-friendly drag performances, took legal action against Governor DeSantis and other state officials in May. The restaurant aimed to prevent the enforcement of the law, which sought to penalize establishments, including restaurants, staging drag shows considered indecent when children are present.
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