December 5, 2022 | Create Freely Rally
On December 5, 2022, EPPC Fellow Rachen N. Morrison spoke at the Create Freely Rally during Supreme Court oral argument in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis in support of free speech for all. Here is a transcript of her remarks:
Thank you. It’s great to be here today.
As a civil rights attorney committed to free speech for all, I am honored to join with you in standing with Lorie and for free speech.
Who here supports free speech?
The beautiful thing about free speech is that it is for everyone. We live in a diverse and pluralistic society, which makes free speech all the more important. Free speech is for popular views and unpopular views. It’s for Christians and Muslims and Atheists. Republicans and Democrats. Students and parents and employees. (And yes, it’s even for the protesters who joined us today that disagree with us.) We shouldn’t have it or want it any other way.
We are here today because Colorado’s law violates Lorie’s free speech rights under the First Amendment. A bedrock principle of our country is that the government—federal or state—cannot make a law that abridges the freedom of speech.
That is what this case is about. It’s about free speech. It is about the freedom of all Americans—regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic—to choose which messages to create and which expressive products to sell.
Some, however, claim this case is really about discrimination—that it is about refusing to sell a mass-produced product to a person based on a protected characteristic, like race, sex, or religion. Such discrimination is abhorrent and illegal.
But thankfully Lorie doesn’t discriminate. Even Colorado and the Tenth Circuit court below agree that Lorie serves all customers. This includes those in the LGBT community and those who do not share her religious beliefs.
This case is about whether a creative professional can choose which custom products to create. And it’s about whether the government can use the force of law to compel its favored message or cancel disfavored speech.
Lorie, like other creative professionals, has chosen not to speak all messages or promote all causes when creating custom websites. Lorie decides whether to create a design based on the message requested, not the person making the request.
In America, we have a long and robust commitment to free speech and freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. As Americans, we should all agree that the government should not have the power to force Lorie or others to speak a government-approved message or a point of view one disagrees with.
We should all stand against efforts to use the power of law to compel or cancel a person’s speech, or to kick them out of the public square based on their beliefs.
I call on the Supreme Court to uphold the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee, protect custom expression in the marketplace, and reject the compelled speech and cancel culture being pushed by Colorado’s government.