Here's why some businesses can deny you service - but others can't

Updated 3:05 AM ET, Sat June 30, 2018

(CNN)A Virginia restaurant's decision not to serve White House press secretary Sarah Sanders raises a major question: Can businesses serving the public legally do that?

The answer is not clear cut. It depends on a number of factors, including whether the business's reasons are political, moral or discriminatory, and the person claiming discrimination falls under a protected trait or class, such as race or religion, lawyers say.
With specific federal law and state laws that vary to certain degrees, it also depends on where the incident happened.
Let's look at some scenarios: