The free exercise clause lives to see another day.
Thank God for President Trump appointing Justice Neil Gorsuch!
Although, this decision was clearly in favor of baker, Jack Phillips.
The Colorado baker had reason to celebrate with a 7-2 victory in the Supreme Court.
The decision doesn’t deal with the largest concern of whether or not a religious person like Phillips can refuse service for religious reasons, but it did clearly state that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission didn’t properly consider his religious rights.
The 7-2 limited ruling Monday turns on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.
After Phillips refused to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012, the gay couple filed a complaint with the Commission. The Commission ruled in their favor, saying Phillips had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law, which bars businesses from discriminating against customers based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision explaining that Phillips’ Free Exercise rights were violated because ‘the Commission showed hostility to his religious beliefs when they were making the decision‘.
His decision reflected this sentiment:
‘The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,’ he wrote.
Kennedy also noted that the commission had ruled the opposite way in three other cases brought against bakers in which the business owners had refused to bake cakes containing messages they disagreed with that demeaned gay people or same-sex marriage. In all of those cases, the Commission allowed the bakers to refuse to decorate their cakes with a message they found offensive.
The three most conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito all wrote separate concurrences citing differing rationale for their decision. Liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined with the conservative justices in the decision. Kagan wrote her own concurrence and emphasized the limited ruling.
The two dissenters were ‘wise Latina’ Sonia Sotomayor and the Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Watch the Fox News coverage:
Ruth Bader Ginsberg strongly disagreed with the decision because she saw the refusal to bake the cake as an act of discrimination.
In Ginsburg’s dissent, the justice quotes several parts of the majority opinion which she agrees with, including that Colorado state law can protect gay persons from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
‘I disagree strongly, however, with the Court’s conclusion that Craig and Mullins should lose the case,’ she said, saying all of the statement’s she cited from the opinion ‘point in the opposite direction’.
Of course, she did.
While the court has set aside the question of whether businesses can refuse service to gay couples because of their religious beliefs, there are other cases in the pipeline that will force the court to give their opinion eventually.
Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
Although the court didn’t make the line between religious liberty of the artist and discrimination based on sexual orientation clear, this is still a victory.
Monday’s ruling was heralded as a victory for conservative Christians, including the one that represented Phillips in his case.
‘Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that,’ said Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer at conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips. Since 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has labeled the Alliance as ‘virulently anti-gay’.
Source: Daily Mail
Did you notice how the Daily Mail managed to malign the Christian group that is defending Jack Phillips by citing the Southern Poverty Law Center?
That’s why we need more of these legal victories — to make the discrimination against Christians and conservatives stop.
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