Justice Samuel Alito joked on Monday about children dressed up in KKK costumes and dating websites as the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding a case involving a web designer who declined service to same-sex weddings due to her religious beliefs.

The web designer, Lorie Smith, seeks an exemption from Colorado state law that bans discrimination of sexual orientation in public accommodations.

The discussion in court moved to hypotheticals with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson presenting a scenario to Kristen Waggoner, Smith’s lawyer, pertaining to a Santa at the mall in which the photographer only allowed white children to be photographed and referred children and families of color to a different Santa at the other end of the mall.

“Why isn’t your argument that they should be able to do that?” Jackson asked Waggoner.


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Waggoner responded saying that the Santa example may be an “edge” case.

Questioning then turned to the lawyer from Colorado.

Alito asked him how he would respond to a scenario in which a black Santa at a mall was asked to take a photo with a child dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Would he be forced to do that?

The conversation turned to discussing that the color of the child wearing the costume wouldn’t matter because there is no law in Colorado that protects a person’s right to wear a KKK costume.

“You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits, right? All the time,” Alito awkwardly joked.

In a separate discussion, Alito brought up dating websites.

Another hypothetical dealt with a single Jewish person who hires a Jewish photographer to take their profile photo for JDate, a dating website for Jewish people.

Justice Elena Kagan, who is Jewish, confirmed that JDate is in fact a dating website for Jewish people. In Alito’s next hypothetical, he referred to AshleyMadison.com, which is a website for people seeking extramarital relationships, joking that Kagan may be familiar with it, also.

“Next a Jewish person asks a Jewish photographer to take a photograph for his AshleyMadison.com,” Alito said. “I’m not suggesting that — she knows a lot of things, I’m not suggesting that. OK — does he have to do it?”

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