Masterpiece Cakeshop

  • December 8, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Douglas NeJaime, Professor of Law, Yale Law School and Reva Siegel, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law, Yale Law School

    *This piece was originally published on Take Care Blog.

    Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is framed narrowly—as a case about whether making a wedding cake is expressive conduct or whether religious individuals should be exempted from laws protecting same-sex couples. But this narrow view of the case misses its real stakes. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF, formerly Alliance Defense Fund), which represents Masterpiece Cakeshop, is driving the litigation and many similar cases around the country. ADF is not interested in a narrow resolution to a narrow question; rather, ADF is taking aim at the very legitimacy of LGBT people and legal protections for them.

  • December 4, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Caroline Mala Corbin, Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case centers on a cake, but at stake is the future of LBGTQ civil rights. The main issue is whether Colorado’s public accommodations law violates the Free Speech Clause.

    Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to sell his baking services to Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a Denver couple seeking a wedding cake. He was fined for violating Colorado’s public accommodations law, which bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places open to the public. Phillips is religiously opposed to same-sex marriage, and believes that to avoid condoning same-sex marriage, Jesus himself would refuse to employ his carpentry skills to make a bed for this couple. Phillips argues that forcing him to make a cake for Craig and Mullins would violate the Free Speech Clause by compelling him to use his creative talents to express approval of same-sex marriage. He is wrong.

  • October 19, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Robert Post, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School     

    *This blog was originally published on Take Care

     Last month, DOJ filed an amicus brief last month in support of the petitioner in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. V. Colorado Civil Rights Commiss. DOJ argues that First Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression preclude the application of Colorado’s general antidiscrimination law to a boutique bakery that produces custom-made wedding cakes. The DOJ brief raises important theoretical questions about the scope of judicial review under the freedom of speech clause of the First Amendment. 

    I yield to no one in my support of these First Amendment freedoms. But precisely because I treasure them, I think it important properly to understand and apply them, lest they be diluted and weakened during times of actual political repression when we will need their strong and clear protection.