Opinion

Judge Delightfully Smacks Down Man Claiming Wearing MAGA-Hat Is His Religion

Paul Liggieri, Piatek’s attorney, somehow managed to get through this bit of oral argument with a straight face:

“He was paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11. The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief. Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar.”

Maybe non-New Yorkers think the mere mention of 9/11 will get them out of a jam, but it doesn’t quite work that way.

Later, this fantastic exchange occurred in the courtroom:

Judge Cohen: “How many members are in this spiritual program that your client is engaged in?”

Liggieri: “Your honor, we don’t allege the amount of individuals.”

Judge Cohen: “So, it’s a creed of one?”

Liggieri: “Yes, your honor.”

Judge Cohen wasted no time calling bullshit on Piatek’s absurd argument, ruling that, “Plaintiff does not state any faith-based principle to which the hat relates,” and unceremoniously dismissing Piatek’s case.

For the record, New York, like many cities, has public accommodation laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, alienage, race, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation, or military status. Those classifications are typically afforded heightened legal protection because they relate to “immutable characteristics” of an individual. By contrast, heightened protection for folks with particular political beliefs has no basis in either law or logic.

Speaking of illegal discrimination, I think this guy won Twitter today:

(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. She is a frequent media contributor, and is Of Counsel to Smedley & Lis, in Woodbury, New Jersey. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos

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