Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


Justice Dept. Sides With Baker in Supreme Court Case

Justice Dept Baker Supreme CourtThe Department of Justice made its support for Colorado baker Jack Phillips apparent, by filing a brief in support of his case that his religious beliefs prevent him from making cakes for same-sex couples on Sept. 7.

What started as a dispute of discrimination and intolerance back in 2012 when Phillips refused to create a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins has now turned into a nationwide spectacle as the case heads for the Supreme Court to be heard before the end of its 2017 term. As this five-year case reaches an ultimate conclusion this year, it falls upon the people to determine what effects this historical ruling will have.

This decision comes on the coattail of Obergefell v Hodges, which rulted that “those who adhere to religious doctrines may continue to advocate...that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned” according the The Economist.

“Part of the marriage equality ruling is how it fits into society”, says Dr. Kenneth Mitchell, a professor of Political Science. “Many different specific cases can arise from one issue, so sometimes we need more clarification from the Supreme Court.”

Dr. Mitchell views the issue as a sociological one, and is a byproduct of the original 2014 case that made same-sex marriage legal in the first place.

“It’s past precedent, in a way”, he adds, “If you want marriage equality to be strengthened, it has to be tested.”

This goes both ways; this will not only affect the rulings and particulars of marriage equality, but religious freedom in the U.S. as well. This will be a landmark case for either side, with the ruling determining the future of both issues.

“You’ve kind of got to kick a law to see how strong it is” Mitchell said.

A big distinction within the actual case and in the discourse among the American people, is whether this is an issue of religious discrimination or prejudice towards the LGBT community.

“In the end, the outcome of this case will come down to how the Court frames the issue,” said Ryan Tetro, Esq., a professor of Political Science and a prelaw advisor.

“If the Court views this is a “discrimination” issue, then expect to see Justice Kennedy play a significant role in crafting the decision in favor of the State as he has a long history of setting precedent with regard to discrimination issues.

Tetro additionally considers the ramifications of the Department of Justice’s decision on the other side of the debate as well.

“However, if the Court views this is a “free speech”, or rather “compelled speech” issue, then the State will have a difficult time overcoming the long line of Supreme Court precedent in the cake maker’s favor.”

Professor Tetro also pointed out that Justice Gorsuch is a Colorado native, adding even more tension to this case’s hearing. Regardless of the issue being discussed, it will come down to the Supreme Court and the past precedent it will consider in relation this this case.

Another major point of dissent is the issuing of a brief in support of the baker from the Department of Justice. The inciting incident occurred back in 2012, approaching over five years ago. There’s not much question of why people are waiting with bated breath to see the results of the case and the effects it will have on American law and society.

The volatile nature of this case and the current political tension across the country lends itself to the outcry of people who see the Justice Department’s decision to do this prior to a Supreme Court ruling (which had been announced at the beginning of the summer) as wildly inappropriate. In regards to the timeliness and the drawn-out nature of the case, Liz Roderick, a senior at Monmouth University, had this to say:

“I’m honestly disappointed that this case has taken 5 years to reach the Supreme Court and be ruled upon. I understand that our legislative system can be very slow at times, but this has the potential to be a landmark case and I wish it would have reached the Supreme Court a little faster.”

Roderick’s opinion is shared by many. Multiple people were shocked that this very case had yet to be concluded when asked about it, recalling first hearing about it several years ago or more. Regardless of one’s feelings about the issues being fought over, it can be agreed that the tension of the case is almost entirely due to the conclusion finally being within sight. Both as a national issue and a popular topic of debate, it will be a relief to all parties when this case finally receives a verdict that either supports or refutes Obergefell v Hodges.

“The LGBT community has been waiting for this ruling with bated breath,” Roderick said, “And I am waiting with anticipation to see the result.”


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