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Do anti-discrimination laws trump free speech and religious expression? The Eighth Circuit, taking its cues from three recent Supreme Court decisions, has revived a lawsuit brought by videographers against Minnesota’s interpretation of its Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). In a 2-1 decision, the panel ordered the district court to reconsider its previous dismissal and heavily hinted that a temporary injunction against enforcement of the MHRA is appropriate:
In a 2-1 decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, said Angel and Carl Larsen can pursue claims that the law violates their constitutional rights to free speech and to freely exercise their religious beliefs.
It ordered U.S. District Judge John Tunheim in Minneapolis, who had dismissed the lawsuit in September 2017, to decide whether the Larsens and their company, Telescope Media Group, deserve a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the law. …
In Friday’s decision, Circuit Judge David Stras said the Larsens could try to show that their videos carried their “own message,” which Minnesota’s law interfered with “by requiring them to say something they otherwise would not.”
Stras, an appointee of President Donald Trump, distinguished antidiscrimination laws targeting conduct and only incidentally affecting speech, calling it “unquestionably” acceptable to require an employer to remove a “White Applicants Only” sign.
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