Patterico's Pontifications


Supreme Court: Masterpiece Cakeshop Appeal Will Be Heard

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Not on today’s order list, but a case that has drawn a lot of attention from all sides is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This case involves a Colorado bakery owner and cake artist whose religious beliefs precluded him from providing a custom wedding cake for the same-sex marriage of David Mullins and Charlie Craig. Today the court agreed to hear an appeal from the baker:

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear an appeal from a Colorado baker with religious objections to same-sex marriage who had lost a discrimination case for refusing to create a cake to celebrate such a union.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111, started in 2012, when the baker, Jack Phillips, an owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., refused to create a cake for the wedding reception of David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who were planning to marry in Massachusetts. The couple filed discrimination charges, and they won before a civil rights commission and in the courts.

Mr. Phillips, who calls himself a cake artist, argued that two parts of the First Amendment — its protections for free expression and religious freedom — overrode a Colorado anti-discrimination law and allowed him to refuse to create a custom wedding cake.

In 2015, a Colorado appeals court ruled against Mr. Phillips. “Masterpiece does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law and serving its customers equally,” the court said.

In a Supreme Court brief, Mr. Phillips’s lawyers said “ He is happy to create other items for gay and lesbian clients.” But his faith requires him, they said, “to use his artistic talents to promote only messages that align with his religious beliefs.”

“Thus,” the brief said, “he declines lucrative business by not creating goods that contain alcohol or cakes celebrating Halloween and other messages his faith prohibits, such as racism, atheism, and any marriage not between one man and one woman.”

The brief said Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig could have bought a cake from another baker and in fact “easily obtained a free wedding cake with a rainbow design from another bakery.”

Jack Phillips commented on today’s news:

“Regardless of your viewpoint about same-sex marriage, shouldn’t we all agree that the government shouldn’t force us to speak or act in a way that violates our deepest convictions?” Phillips queried in his prepared statement. “Like the one in Colorado will result in kind-hearted Americans being dragged before state commissions and courts, and punished by the government for peacefully seeking to live and work consistent with their beliefs about marriage? The couple who came to my shop that day 5 years ago are free to hold their beliefs about marriage, and all I ask is that I be allowed the equal opportunity to keep mine.”

Lawyers Kristen Waggoner and Michael Farris also commented:

“It’s never been about Jack’s willingness to sell products or services to people based on who they are,” he said. “If an LGBT person came to his cake shop wanting to buy a pre-existing cake, he’d be happy to for any purpose.”

But both Farris and Waggoner said that requiring him to write messages that go against his religious beliefs, including one promoting same-sex marriage, is where he draws the line.

The lawyers for the couple involved, responded:

“[I]t is no answer to say that Mullins and Craig could shop somewhere else for their wedding cake, just as it was no answer in 1966 to say that African-American customers could eat at another restaurant.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Supreme Court Allows Most Of Trump Administration Travel Ban

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:22 am

[guest post by Dana]

Giving the Trump administration some victory after the administration’s temporary travel ban was held up by lower courts, the Supreme Court announced today that the majority of the administration’s temporary travel ban can go into effect:

The Supreme Court is allowing to go into effect the executive order’s temporary ban on entry into the U.S. of citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, but with an exception for people with bona fide connections to the United States. That includes foreign nationals with familial connections in the U.S., students who have been already admitted into an American university, or workers with existing job offers in the U.S.

For people with these bona fide connections, the injunctions put in place by the lower courts are upheld and these individuals will not be banned under the executive order from coming into the U.S.

But anyone else from the six listed countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and refugees who do not have bona fide connections to the U.S. will be subject to the temporary ban on entry into the United States.

The newly revised travel ban can go partly into effect this week. Arguments are set to be heard in October, which will be past the 90-day review period.

This is interesting:

Notably absent from the court’s decision is any analysis of Trump’s campaign statements. Moreover, the only dissenters from the opinion (justices Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas) wanted the injunctions vacated in their entirety. They are correct that the court’s ruling will invite further litigation as litigants test the boundaries of the “bona fide relationships,” but the difference between the dissenters and the six remaining justices was only over the proper extent of Trump’s legal victory. For now, the constitutional and statutory primacy of the executive and legislative branches over national security and immigration has been restored.

The judges in the courts below have been celebrated as heroic resistance figures. Yet now even the Supreme Court’s most liberal justices have rejected the lower courts’ overreach.

President Trump released a statement regarding the court’s decision:

“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,” he said in a statement.

“Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our nation’s homeland,” he added. “I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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