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The Supreme Court ’s conservative majority sounded sympathetic Monday to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples, a dispute that’s the latest clash of religion and gay rights to land at the highest court.

The designer and her supporters say that ruling against her would force artists — from painters and photographers to writers and musicians — to do work that is against their faith. Her opponents, meanwhile, say that if she wins, a range of businesses will be able to discriminate, refusing to serve Black customers, Jewish or Muslim people, interracial or interfaith couples or immigrants, among others.

The lively arguments at the Supreme Court ran well beyond the allotted 70 minutes.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, one of three high court appointees of former President Donald Trump, described Lorie Smith, the website designer, as “an individual who says she will sell and does sell to everyone, all manner of websites, (but) that she won’t sell a website that requires her to express a view about marriage that she finds offensive.”

The issue of where to draw the line dominated the questions early in Monday’s arguments at the high court.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked whether a photography store in a shopping mall could refuse to take pictures of Black people on Santa’s lap.

“Their policy is that only white children can be photographed with Santa in this way, because that’s how they view the scenes with Santa that they’re trying to depict,” Jackson said.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly pressed Kristen Waggoner, the lawyer for Smith, over other categories. “How about people who don’t believe in interracial marriage? Or about people who don’t believe that disabled people should get married? Where’s the line?” Sotomayor asked.


Hong Kong’s leader said on Monday he will ask Beijing to rule whether to let foreign lawyers be involved in national security cases after the city’s top court allowed a prominent pro-democracy publisher to hire a British lawyer for his upcoming trial.

John Lee said the government would ask for a postponement of Jimmy Lai’s high-profile trial that was due to start Thursday. But he did not offer a timetable for the interpretation that could effectively preempt the court judgment.

“At present, there is no effective means to ensure that a counsel from overseas will not have a conflict of interest because of his nationality. And there is also no means to ensure that he has not been coerced, compromised, or in any way controlled by foreign governments, associations or persons,” he said.

The move was targeting overseas counsels who do not have the general practice qualification to carry out legal service in Hong Kong, he added.

Lai, the founder of the now-defunct Apple Daily and one of the most prominent figures in the city’s pro-democracy movement, was arrested after Beijing imposed a tough national security law to crack down on dissent following widespread protests in 2019. He faces collusion charges and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

While the city’s secretary for justice was appealing an earlier ruling that approved Lai to hire a veteran British lawyer at the top court, pro-Beijing politicians and newspapers also voiced objections over the last few days.


A federal appeals court asked a Washington D.C. appeals court Tuesday to help it decide whether the United States should be substituted for former President Donald Trump as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says he raped her over a quarter century ago.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan in a 2-to-1 decision reversed a lower court ruling that had concluded Trump must face the lawsuit brought in Manhattan federal court by columnist E. Jean Carroll.

But it stopped short of saying the U.S. can be substituted for Trump as the defendant in the lawsuit. Instead, it asked The D.C. Court of Appeals, the highest court in the District of Columbia, to decide whether Trump’s public statements denying Carroll’s rape claims occurred within the scope of his employment as president.

Carroll maintains Trump defamed her with public comments he made after she wrote in a 2019 book that Trump raped her during a chance encounter in the mid-1990s in a Manhattan department store. Trump denied the rape and questioned Carroll’s credibility and motivations.

The 2nd Circuit said Trump would be entitled to immunity by having the U.S. substituted as the defendant in the lawsuit if it was decided that his statements came within the scope of his employment.


A former Port Angeles naturopathic physician was sentenced to eight months in prison and one year supervised release after being found guilty of selling products he claimed could prevent numerous serious diseases, including COVID-19.

Richard Marschall, 69, was convicted in 2021, after a four-day trial, of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, his third conviction, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The jury found that his marketing was false or misleading and because his products were not listed with the FDA.

At the sentencing hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “It is extremely dangerous during the COVID epidemic for people to be engaged in conduct that would lead other people to defer and wait to receive medical care.”

Marschall was convicted previously and sentenced in federal court for distributing misbranded drugs, both in 2011 and again in 2017.

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