Supreme Court Allows Ban On Texas College Campus Drag Show To Stand

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The Supreme Court denied an appeal by a student group seeking to set up a drag show Friday in an unsigned order.

Administrators at West Texas A&M University cancelled a planned drag show in March 2023, saying the event did not “preserve a single thread of human dignity” and that “drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood.” Student groups sued to block the ban, but lost in the lower courts. (RELATED: ‘I Would Not Support Blackface Performances’: University President Vows To Shut Down ‘Extreme’ Campus Drag Show)

Drag performer Evry Pleasure dances during the “Barbie’s World!” drag show at Red Bear Brewing Company in Washington, DC, on July 14, 2023. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

“The application for writ of injunction pending appeal presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the justices said in an unsigned order.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court March 4, seeking to preserve a planned March 22 drag show.

“Wendler imposed a viewpoint-driven prior restraint on speech — an intolerable First Amendment violation that should not have lasted a day, let alone a year,” the group said in a statement at the time it field its appeal. “That is why FIRE sued on the students’ behalf last year, and appealed after the district court denied FIRE’s request to stop the censorship at West Texas A&M.”

The Supreme Court has declined to lift an injunction restricting drag shows in Florida, and a law in Tennessee is also blocked by court order.

Oral arguments on underlying litigtion are scheduled for April at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, according to NBC News.

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