From Conservative Brief:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been outspoken about his conservative perspective and called on other conservatives to grow a spine.
In a speech on Wednesday, DeSantis covered a wide range of topics in which he vocally emphasized to social conservatives the need to reject and fight back against ‘smear’ campaigns performed by the left.
He touted the positions he’s stood for as examples of how to push back.
DeSantis, who delivered his speech at a religious freedom summit hosted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that conservative politicians need to do more than simply pay lip service to conservative ideals.
Many Republicans, he said, merely skate by through a checklist of conservative talking points instead of fighting back and advancing conservative ideals.
DeSantis called on conservatives to “have the backbone and the wherewithal to be willing to stand for those right things when the going gets tough when the lights get hot when people are throwing stuff at you and are trying to smear you,” he said. “That is where I think the rubber meets the road.”
The ADF is a conservative law firm known for taking on high-profile religious liberty cases that it has argued for before the Supreme Court, including the controversy over a Christian florist called Arlene’s Flowers, which refused to fulfill a custom request at a same-sex wedding.
The case, which was decided by the Supreme Court in 2017, ruled against the florist, holding that floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing the service did not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
Despite the defeat in 2017, conservatives have seen wins in the court’s most recent term, which includes the addition of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, two conservative justices.
Despite these conservative victories, many have criticized the court for not championing religious liberty – a point DeSantis seized upon to criticize in his speech.
“I would say that judges as well – particularly these Article III judges – they need to show some fortitude and do what’s right,” said DeSantis, employing the same language Justice Neil Gorsuch used to criticize his colleagues’ decision to not use Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to overturn a precedent on religious liberty, per Fox News.
“You should take cases that are important to this country,” DeSantis added. “You should be willing to resolve issues of law that are going to have a significant impact on people’s freedoms and constitutional liberties.”
Fox News and other observers note that DeSantis was likely referring to the florist’s case, which the ADF represented. The three dissenters in the 2017 case, Justices Alito, Roberts, and Thomas, needed only an additional justice on their side to hear the case.
“You shouldn’t view this through a political lens where you don’t want to make a decision because you’re worried about certain blowback or you’re worried about what the media will say, or you’re worried about all of these extraneous factors,” DeSantis said.
“You take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and you need to be willing to do that without fear or favor and you need to be resolute, and you need to get the job done,” he added. “Refusing to rule correctly or even to rule at all for fear of any type of extraneous consequences is cowardice, and we can’t have cowardly people in these positions at this moment in our history.”
In addition to speaking about religious freedoms, the Florida governor added that “academia, corporate media, big tech, big business – all of them adopt in various degrees a leftist, woke perspective in terms of what they want to see.”
“Most of them are entirely hostile to any type of conservative values or traditional principles. That’s just for sure. So, you know that going in. That’s what the battlefield looks like and if you stand up for the truth, you’re going to face the wrath of these institutions in many respects. The media will almost assuredly try to smear you, Big Tech may censor you, and big business may even try to boycott you, boycott your state, boycott your jurisdiction, but that’s what you have to be willing to put up with.”
DeSantis also touched upon the controversy surrounding the inclusion of transgender athletes to the detriment of female athletes in professional sports, stating: “You see these women athletes who were competing, performing well and then they get out of a competition because you’d have two males that would beat them in track or some of these other things.”
“And it’s fundamentally unfair, it’s discrimination against women athletes to force them to participate against male athletes,” said DeSantis. “That’s just the bottom line.”
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