Julie A. Werner-Simon

  • February 19, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Julie A. Werner-Simon 

    *Abbreviated version of published article with permission of the Los Angeles Daily Journal 2-13-18

    In the case which pundits are calling “the Kern County Cake Case,” a California superior court judge held a two-hour hearing on Friday, February 2, during which a California state agency which enforces California’s anti-discrimination laws was pitted against chief counsel of a religious freedom advocacy group, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund. Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Cathy’s Creations, Inc. dba Tastries, BCV-17-102855. The issue? Should a Bakersfield baker who operates a commercial business open to the public be required to make cakes for gay weddings? The Kern County judge, a home-grown jurist and “man of faith,” found for the baker. The court ruled that cake-making is artistic expression and that when used for a wedding, “there could not be a greater form of expressive conduct.”

  • January 22, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Julie A. Werner-Simon, is a former federal prosecutor  

    *Reprinted with permission of LA Daily Journal, 1-10-18

    When a new pope is selected by the assemblage of cardinals at the Vatican, the papal conclave releases white smoke into the sky. There are no smoke signals at the U.S. Supreme Court, but if one had a good sense of smell on Monday, the scent of cake appeared to be wafting from the neoclassical edifice at 1 First Street. The Supreme Court rejected two petitions challenging the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ upholding of a Mississippi law that permits businesses, religious organizations and government employees (as well as other organizations and individuals) to refuse service to gay people, to people who identify with a gender other than that with which they were born, as well as people of any gender who have sexual relations outside of marriage. Barber v. Bryant, 17-547 and Campaign for Southern Equality v.  Bryant, 17-642.