Beauty contest uses free speech rights to exclude transgender contestant

In refusing to hear the case en banc, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reaffirmed the rising prominence of compelled speech in First Amendment cases. A plaintiff had held that the Miss United States America contest was discriminatory in limiting contestants to those who are “natural born female.” The court noted that the district court was right in ruling the First Amendment protects the beauty pageant’s “expressive association rights to exclude a person who would impact the group’s ability to express its views.” (Reason, March 14, 2023. by Eugene Volokh)

Transgender female Anita Green sued the pageant in 2018 contending that its rules were discriminatory. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court ruling that the pageants combine speech with performances, including music and dancing, to “express a message, ” specifically, its view of womanhood. (New York Post, November 4, 2023, by Fox News)

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