CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst Can’t Tell The Difference Between Speech And Mac’n’Cheese (VIDEO)

Written by K. Walker on December 6, 2022


CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, made a bizarre analogy while interviewing a woman at the center of a Supreme Court case.

Lorie Smith is a graphic designer and an evangelical Christian. One of the services she provides with her website design business is creating wedding websites for couples. Smith says that the Colorado anti-discrimination law is violating her right to free speech by essentially using the law to force her to create websites for same-sex weddings. Her case is currently before the Supreme Court.

Predictably, this is being framed in the media as anti-gay discrimination and a debate about same-sex marriage and religious belief rather than what it really is — the state compelling the speech of business owners.

Smith says that the law violates her freedom to express her deeply-held religious view of traditional marriage — that it is an institution ordained by God between one man and one woman.

Basically, the case itself questions whether the state was correct to prioritize the prevention of discrimination above the First Amendment rights of creative professionals.

It could also pave the way for the state to force journalists to become mouthpieces for the government and silence dissent. It’s a significant case that goes far beyond religious accommodations and gay marriage.

Here is Reuters explaining the case in a brief video with their bias evident:

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser gave the game away in that clip when he mentioned that if Smith won, it would allow “discrimination” by all sorts of people, including those that bake cakes. Clearly, Colorado AG is upset that Masterpiece Cake Shop owner Jack Phillips won his case when it went to the Supreme Court.

On Monday, some bizarre hypothetical situations were made by a few of the Supreme Court Justices when asking clarification questions to the attorneys on both sides of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis during opening arguments.

Coats, who hosts CNN Tonight, followed that same template when interviewing Smith and Kristen Waggoner, president and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Smith before the Supreme Court.

“At what point can someone say ‘I’m an artist’ and not really be one?” Coates asks Smith.

She then makes the bizarre argument seemingly equating making macaroni and cheese with creating a website…?

“What is to distinguish you from somebody saying, well, you know what? Look, my macaroni and cheese in this restaurant is a work of art. This pie is a work of art. The way that I make my clothing in this boutique: works of art,” says Coates. “So, you know what, I don’t want somebody in here who’s gay, who’s black, who’s Jewish, who’s disabled, what is the line that distinguishes, say, you from the artist that somebody could, under the auspices of saying they’re an artiste do the same thing?”

The mac’n’cheese dish isn’t providing a message, whereas that is the purpose of a website. One is very clearly a vehicle for speech and one is just a pile of carbs.

Do restauranteurs query their patrons before providing them food?

Is Coats really this ignorant or is she playing dumb with this absurd analogy?

Smith simply responds that her case is about protecting First Amendment rights.

“What I’m seeking is that the Court step in to protect everyone’s right to speak freely,” replied Smith, who, like Jack Phillips will provide services for clients of all backgrounds. Her contention is that creating a wedding website for a same-sex couple would be compelled speech because she couldn’t refuse to provide that service under Colorado law.

“The court has already determined these tests,” explained Waggoner in small words even Coates might understand. “Words, text, and graphics. That’s speech. If we’re talking about some macaroni and cheese dish — that’s not speech. And that’s an easy call for the Court to make. And they’ve been making those calls for many many years, under the First Amendment.”

Of course, “senior legal analyst” for CNN doesn’t mean much these days. After all, they kept Jeffrey Toobin on staff despite his blatant partisanship and his disturbing moral failures — some of which were (unfortunately for his co-workers) during a Zoom meeting.

To be fair to Coates, this isn’t much different from the weird hypotheticals that some of the SCOTUS Justices were coming up with… especially the newest member of the Bench, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

At least Justice Alito had a little fun with his analogy… and got some laughs from his colleagues. The answer by Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson is that under the law, the hypothetical Jewish photographer would have to provide photography services for a married Jewish customer to use on a cheating website even if it violates his religious beliefs.

To the Colorado authorities, it’s always, “Shut up and bake the cake, bigot” without acknowledging that the speech is compelled.

The only other option for business owners with this law in place seems to be to not provide the service at all to anyone.

Justice Gorsuch asks if Jack Phillips was forced to attend “re-education” for refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple even though he offered to provide anything else in his shop to them.

It appears as though the conservative-leaning court is tilting in favor of Smith and free speech, but we will have to wait and see. A decision is expected in July, so expect more ridiculous analogies from CNN legal analysts for the next few months.

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ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll and on Gettr @KarenWalker