Supreme Court rules Florida can't enforce drag ban for now

Florida will have to wait to enforce its ban on drag shows thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, which stayed the state from implementing the law until its appeal against a lower court ruling is heard.

Last month, a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's order stopping the law from being enforced. The district court found that the law likely restricted free speech and couldn't be enforced anywhere in the state.

Hamburger Mary's regularly hosts drag shows, including family-friendly performances on Sundays that children are invited to attend. The restaurant's owner said the law was overly broad, was written vaguely and violated First Amendment rights by chilling speech.

The new law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, punished venues for allowing children into what it called "adult live performances." Though it did not mention drag shows specifically, the sponsor of the legislation said it was aimed at those performances.

Three justices said they would have let the state just ban drag already: Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas. If that's a teaser for the eventual outcome of the case, it's game over for drag bans even with the most plainly partisan, right-wing and corrupt Supreme Court in modern history. This outcome seems to be no surprise to First Amendment experts, including conservative ones.