We all learned not to long ago to never try to predict what the U.S. Supreme Court will do. A few years ago I felt pretty confident that Obamacare would be ruled unconstitutional until Justice John Roberts released that the Individual Mandate in the healthcare law was actually a tax, no matter what congress had actually passed. But I digress…
All that to say, I have been incredibly encouraged by the reports back from DC after the court heard arguments in Masterpiece Cakes v Colorado Civil Rights Commission. As you know, this case revolves around whether the state of Colorado can penalize Jack Phillips for not wanting to create a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. By all accounts, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom did a phenomenal job in court. Kristen Waggoner, who made the oral arguments for Jack, presented an incredibly powerful argument.
Here are three good signs from yesterday:
1) We Outnumbered Them
CCV team members Josh Brown and David Taynor were in Washington DC for the legal arguments, helping organize a rally outside the Supreme Court. People from all across the country turned out to support Jack, free speech, and religious freedom.
As you may be able to see in this picture from yesterday, our supporters outnumbered the other side nearly 2-1.
For years, many in the media have tried to make it sound like supporters of religious freedom (like us) are in the extreme minority.
Yet our side was out in force, with a positive message supporting free speech for everyone!
2) A Skeptical Justice Kennedy
As you know, Justice Anthony Kennedy is often the swing vote on the Supreme Court on issues like this one. In an exchange with the attorney representing the state of Colorado (which is opposing the cakeshop), Justice Kennedy seemed frustrated at the state’s lack of tolerance towards Jack.
“Tolerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual. It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.”
This is a good sign that he is recognizing that Jack’s religious beliefs sincerely prohibit him from participating in a same-sex wedding, and that in our pluralistic culture, we need to find ways of living together.
Again, this doesn’t mean he’ll rule in Jack’s favor, but certainly is a good sign.
3) The left was exposed
Justice Samuel Alito asked a line of questioning to the ACLU that exposed the consequences if Jack loses this case.
Justice Alito displayed that this case is much bigger than just cakes for gay weddings.
He asked the ACLU attorney if, for example, a cake baker made a cake for the Red Cross with their cross logo, would that same cake baker be compelled to make a cake with a different cross on it for the Ku Klux Klan?
The ACLU attorney said yes.
Think about these implications for people in the market place. We all know small business owners – do you think they should be allowed to turn down business from groups like the KKK or Nazi organizations?
Not being forced to communicate a message you disagree with is central to American freedom.
Make no mistake, Jack’s case will have far reaching implications for every one if he loses.