Opinion: When truth was no defense

The Colorado Sun: Colorado has a way of gaining national attention over the right to free speech.

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the closely watched case of 303 Creative v. Elenis, which involves a Denver-area web and graphic designer who is opposed to same-sex marriage. The designer, Lorie Smith, argues that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law would violate her free speech rights by compelling her to create website designs for the wedding of a gay couple.

Generations ago, long before websites or legally sanctioned same-sex marriages, a prominent Coloradan also took a momentous free speech case to the Supreme Court.

The case had its roots in the state’s 1904 elections, when Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly, with their allies on the state Supreme Court, alleged that state elections had been tainted by widespread fraud. The Republicans leveraged favorable rulings by the courts and State Board of Canvassers to successfully capture the governorship, as well as cement their majorities in the legislature and Supreme Court and even expel local Democratic officeholders in reliably Democratic precincts of Denver.

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