DLA Piper prepares amicus brief in discrimination case before the US Supreme Court

DLA Piper prepared an amicus brief on a pro bono basis in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on behalf of nine national civil rights organizations led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Oral argument in the case will be heard by the US Supreme Court on December 5, 2017.

The amicus brief urges the Court to conclude that discrimination by businesses against vulnerable populations is not lawful. It underscores the ongoing importance of public accommodation laws to ensure equal access to publicly available goods and services. The parties submitting the brief expressed concern that the petitioners' proposed free speech exemption to anti-discrimination public accommodation laws could pave the way for businesses to lawfully discriminate against racial and other minorities.

"As detailed in the amicus brief, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of public accommodation laws that prevent the type of discrimination that took place in the Masterpiece case," said Ilana Eisenstein, a partner in DLA Piper's Philadelphia office who led the drafting of the amicus brief. "Public accommodation laws are vital to ensuring that all people can participate in the marketplace regardless of race, identity or belief."

In addition to Eisenstein, partner Courtney Saleski (Philadelphia and Washington, DC) and associates Ethan Townsend (Wilmington), Paul Schmitt (Washington, DC), Adam Steene (New York) and Jeffrey DeGroot (Seattle) supported the preparation of the amicus brief, which can be viewed here.