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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito authored the majority opinion to uphold two Arizona election integrity lawsChip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take a case out of Missouri in which jurors were barred from hearing a case involving a lesbian plaintiff due to their Christian beliefs on homosexuality, which Justice Samuel Alito called a realization of what he warned would happen after forcing same-sex “marriage” on America.

The Kansas City Star reports that in 2021, a lesbian prison system employee named Jean Finney sued the Missouri Department of Corrections for an alleged hostile work environment, claiming she was the target of harassment, including hostile texts, rumors, formal complaints, and withholding of key job safety information, at the hands of a co-worker who had once been married to Finney’s partner.

A jury sided with Finney and awarded her $275,000, but not before a pair of potential jurors were dismissed because they expressed “strongly held views” about the sinfulness of homosexuality, which Finney’s attorney Christina Nielsen claimed “was necessary because the plaintiff’s homosexuality was a central issue in the case,” and the rejected jurors were deemed incapable of being objective about Finney’s claims. 

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District upheld the verdict, and the Missouri Supreme Court declined to review it, prompting Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey to appeal it to the nation’s highest court.

“The Constitution does not tolerate excluding jurors on the basis of race or sex. It ought not to tolerate exclusion on the basis of religion, the very first freedom protected by the Bill of Rights,” he said. Bailey contends that religious views can only be grounds for excluding a juror if they truly make him biased, but not if suspicions of such bias are based on nothing more than religious characteristics.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on Tuesday, without elaborating on why. In the process, Alito issued a five-page statement concurring with the decision on the grounds that it was “complicated by a state-law procedural issue” (specifically that the “Department of Corrections did not properly preserve an objection to dismissal of the two potential jurors and, thus, that their dismissal was reviewable under state law only for plain error”), yet taking the time to warn about the broader ramifications of the lower courts’ judgment.

Noting that the jury questioning “conflated two separate issues: whether the prospective jurors believed that homosexual conduct is sinful and whether they believed that gays and lesbians should not enjoy the legal rights possessed by others,” Alito detailed the actual answers of the jurors Nielsen had stricken. 

One said simply that “homosexuality, according to the Bible, is a sin,” but “so is gossiping, so is lying [… N]one of us can be perfect. And so I’m here because it’s an honor to sit in here and to perhaps be a part of, you know, a civic duty.” The other said he considered homosexuality sinful because “it’s in the Bible,” while going on to state that “every one of us here sins,” which is “just part of our nature. And it’s something we struggle with, hopefully throughout our life.” The second juror added that that belief “has really nothing to do with—in a negative way with whatever this case is going to be about.”

Nielsen argued, and the trial judge agreed, that these answers meant “there’s no way” that someone who says a homosexual is “a sinner” could fairly judge the case, and that while both credibly attested that they could follow the law, the judge decided to “err on the side of caution” because there were “enough jurors left” without them.

The appeals court agreed that the jurors’ Christian view of homosexuality meant Finney would have grounds for appealing any verdict they rendered on the basis that “they could not impartially and fairly decide her claim that she was unlawfully harassed due to her homosexuality” and that their dismissal was not religious discrimination because it was based on their religious “beliefs” rather than their religious “status.”

“When a court, a quintessential state actor, finds that a person is ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs, that decision implicates fundamental rights,” Alito wrote. “Under the Free Exercise Clause, state actions that ‘single out the religious for disfavored treatment’ must survive ‘the “most rigorous” scrutiny’ […] regardless of whether the differential treatment is predicated on religious status or religious belief.”

“Our precedents make it clear that distinctions based on ‘religious beliefs,’ no less than distinctions based on religious status, must ‘advance “interests of the highest order” and must be narrowly tailored in pursuit of those interests,’” he continued. And [u]nder “Under Missouri law, ‘[t]he standard for determining whether a juror should be excused for cause is whether his or her views would ‘prevent or substantially impair’ the performance of duties as a juror.’”

Alito said he was “concerned that the lower court’s reasoning may spread and may be a foretaste of things to come” and that it “exemplifies the danger that I anticipated in Obergefell v. Hodges,” the 2015 Supreme Court decision that forced all 50 states to recognize same-sex “marriage.”  

“[N]amely,” he went on, “that Americans who do not hide their adherence to traditional religious beliefs about homosexual conduct will be ‘labeled as bigots and treated as such’ by the government […] The opinion of the Court in that case made it clear that the decision should not be used in that way, but I am afraid that this admonition is not being heeded by our society.”

Commenting on the case, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said that “disqualifying a juror over religious belief is a serious threat to religious freedom. Just because jurors oppose murder does not disqualify them from serving on a murder trial. This case is not unlike Liberty Counsel’s Kim Davis case involving the issuance of marriage licenses. Religious freedom extends to more than just private thoughts.”

Nominated by former President George W. Bush in 2005, Alito is one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative members. He wrote the majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, and on multiple occasions has dissented from and sometimes even chastised several of his Republican-appointed colleagues for more liberal actions and decisions.