The left is sounding the alarm over an upcoming Supreme Court case that could impact the enforcement of non-discrimination laws.
According to the liberal rag Vox, the court's decision in Acheson Hotels v. Laufer could "blow up" civil rights law by blocking so-called "testers" from filing vexatious lawsuit against businesses.
The plaintiff in the case, Deborah Laufer, is a disabled woman who surfs the internet for hotels that do not provide notices of disability accommodations. Although Laufer has no intention of staying at these hotels, she has filed over 600 lawsuits, mostly against small businesses that have no recourse but to settle.
The key issue in the case is whether "testers" can sue businesses for discrimination even if the testers themselves have not been harmed. Typically, a court case must involve an actual injury or harm in order for a plaintiff to have standing.
"If you have no intent to stay at a property, then access to the hotel is not an issue," said Chip Rogers, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. "Every hotelier I've ever spoken to wants to fully comply with the ADA. It’s not their intent to try to get around the law."
The hospitality industry says that "testers" like Laufer have enabled a cottage industry of predatory litigation.
But a number of progressive groups are supporting Laufer, arguing that "testers" are critical to keeping businesses in compliance with civil rights law.
In a piece on the case, Vox acknowledged the weakness of the lawsuit and the likelihood that the Supreme Court would rule against Laufer.
All the same, Vox argues that the court's all but inevitable ruling would be a disaster for civil rights. No longer would people who are not harmed be able to sue businesses for hypothetical discrimination.
There is "a real risk that a majority of the justices are so angered by Laufer’s blizzard of lawsuits, and by the behavior of some of her lawyers, that they hand down a far-too-sweeping decision cutting off many meritorious challenges to discrimination," the outlet wrote.
The Supreme Court is returning for a new term in October, when it will hear oral arguments in Acheson.
The high court ended its last term with a bang, issuing several rulings that challenged the left's sweeping non-discrimination regime.
In addition to striking down affirmative action, the court ruled against the state of Colorado in a case involving a Christian web designer who refused to endorse gay marriage through her business.
It looks like the court's next term will once again be packed with controversy - and the incessant whining on the left about the court's loss of "legitimacy" will continue.