Using The Justice System To Get Revenge

The Daily Caller is reporting today that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is again going after Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court after declining to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

The article reports:

On the same day the high court agreed to review the Masterpiece case, an attorney named Autumn Scardina called Phillips’ shop and asked him to create a cake celebrating a sex transition. The caller asked that the cake include a blue exterior and a pink interior, a reflection of Scardina’s transgender identity. Phillips declined to create the cake, given his religious conviction that sex is immutable, while offering to sell the caller other pre-made baked goods.

In the months that followed, the bakery received requests for cakes featuring marijuana use, sexually explicit messages, and Satanic symbols. One solicitation submitted by email asked the cake shop to create a three-tiered white cake depicting Satan licking a functional 9 inch dildo. Phillips believes Scardina made all these requests.

Scardina filed a complaint with the civil rights commission, alleging discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The matter was held in abeyance while the Supreme Court adjudicated the Masterpiece case.

Three weeks after Phillips won at the high court, the commission issued a probable cause determination, finding there was sufficient evidence to support Scardina’s claim of discrimination. In a somewhat strange development, the probable cause finding reads that Phillips violated state law, even though the proceedings are still in a preliminary stage.

The article cites Mr. Phillips’ response to all of this:

  • Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop fame is suing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
  • The Commission commenced new proceedings against Phillips on behalf of a transgender complainant just weeks after he prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Phillips’ attorneys say the Commission is engaged in a concerted campaign to destroy him, which is unlawful.

This has the appearance of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission using their power to target a specific person. The article notes that the baker was willing to sell Mr. Scardina a pre-baked cake, he was just not willing to use his artistic ability to support something that was against his religious beliefs. If we look at what is being said here, would you ask a Christian recording artist to record a song that praised the devil? Would you ask a painter who paints religious pictures to paint a picture glorifying the devil? Does an artist have the right to choose the direction of his art?

I believe that Mr. Phillips is correct to sue the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. It appears that after the ruling of the Supreme Court, the Commission has decided to use its power to personally harass Mr. Phillips.

One Decision, But Not Really A Resolution Of The Issue

In 2012, Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. In 2012. Same sex marriage was not legal in Colorado, and the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the issue. It was a very different time. The State of Colorado charged Mr. Phillips with discrimination, and the case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled today. The Washington Times posted the story today.

The article in The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Phillips had argued as a Christian, he could not be forced to create a custom wedding cake for a homosexual couple, citing his First Amendment rights, though he said he offered to sell one of his standard cakes to them.

Colorado said his refusal broke the state’s public accommodation law prohibiting businesses from refusing service to anyone based on religion, race, sexual orientation and national origin.

During proceedings before the state’s civil rights commission one commissioner complained that freedom of religion had been used to “justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.” The commissioner called Mr. Phillips‘ beliefs “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric.”

Justice Kennedy said those statements undermined the state’s case against Mr. Phillips.

The Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 in favor of Mr. Phillips. The two judges who ruled against Mr. Phillips were Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. Phillips is essentially a cake artist. The question becomes whether or not a person can be forced to use his art for something he fundamentally disagrees with. Artists are usually commissioned. If the charges against Mr. Phillips were allowed to stand, does that mean that an artist does not have the right to refuse to do a commissioned work? I think that is the ultimate question–does a person running a business have the right to choose their clientele?

The Supreme Court Watch Begins

The Hill posted a list today of five important Supreme Court cases that we should receive rulings on beginning next week and ending in June.

The article lists the five cases:

  1. Partisan gerrymandering 

The justices were asked this term to rule on whether Republican officials in Wisconsin unconstitutionally injected political bias into the redistricting process by drawing district lines to disadvantage Democrats.

2. Wedding cake

The court also has yet to rule in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case centers on Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

3. Sports betting 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) could get a major win if the court sides with a challenge his state brought challenging a 1992 federal law that bans sports gambling in almost every state except Nevada. 

4. Free speech and abortion

It’s a two-for-one in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, a lawsuit that pro-life pregnancy centers in California brought challenging a state law that requires licensed facilities to post information about where women can obtain a free or low-cost abortion from the state.

The law also requires unlicensed facilities to notify women that they do not employ a licensed medical professional. 

5. Trump’s travel ban 

The last arguments the justices heard this term were a challenge to President Trump’s ban on nationals from certain Muslim-majority countries entering the United States.

It will be interesting to see if the rulings on these cases are actually based on the U.S. Constitution or if they are simply based on what is politically correct.