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Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito suggested that laws banning conversion therapy may violate the First Amendment

Supreme Court
ERIN SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Supreme Court announced it won't hear a case about a state ban on conversion therapy for minors.

  • The decision upholds the rights of dozens of states that already passed laws against the practice.

  • In written opinions, Justices Alito and Thomas both suggested the ban violated the First Amendment.

Conservative Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas both suggested that laws in dozens of states banning conversion therapy could violate the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court published the two justices' opinions on Monday in connection to the high court officially denying a petition to adjudicate the Tingley v. Ferguson case regarding the state of Washington's ban on conversion therapy on minors, SB 5722.

In his opinion, Thomas noted he would've agreed to hear the case as "this question has divided the Courts of Appeals and strikes at the heart of the First Amendment."

"Under SB 5722, licensed counselors cannot voice anything other than the state-approved opinion on minors with gender dysphoria without facing punishment," he wrote. "The Ninth Circuit set a troubling precedent by condoning this regime."

In a separately published opinion, Alito concurred with Thomas about how conversion therapy bans encroach on the First Amendment.

"It is beyond dispute that these laws restrict speech, and all restrictions on speech merit careful scrutiny," Alito wrote.

The order also noted that Justice Brett Kavanaugh would have reviewed the case as well, but did not include a written opinion by him in support of the petition.

As the minimally-required four justices did not agree to review the case, the Ninth Circuit's decision from September 2022 will be upheld and Washington's ban on conversion therapy for minors will remain legal.

In the Ninth Circuit's written decision in support of the law, Judge Ronald Gould dismissed arguments that the ban encroached on any constitutional amendments.

"Washington's licensing scheme for health care providers, which disciplines them for practicing conversion therapy on minors, does not violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments," Gould wrote. "States do not lose the power to regulate the safety of medical treatments performed under the authority of a state license merely because those treatments are implemented through speech rather than through scalpel."

Read the original article on Business Insider