ANALYSIS OF MASTERPIECE ORAL ARGUMENTS
December 6, 2017
Now is the time to pray fervently for the Supreme Court Justices as they decide their individual positions about Masterpiece Cakeshop. On Friday, they will meet, cast their votes on the case, and then assign a writer for the majority opinion. Pray for a righteous, just decree.
[F]or justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. (Ps 94:15)
“[B]asing case predictions on oral argument is an uncertain business. I’ve seen lawyers and clients leave a courtroom with confidence only to be crushed when they read the opinion. Still, arguments can offer clues as to a justice’s thinking, and they’re worth analyzing. I’ve read the Masterpiece Cakeshop argument transcript, and there are at least four encouraging signs. . . .
Masterpiece Cakeshop not only serves gay customers, it would sell a gay couple a wedding cake. What he won’t do is use his artistic talents specifically and intentionally for the purpose of celebrating a same-sex union. That’s the vital distinction. That’s what implicates the compelled speech doctrine. Good on Waggoner for making the distinction up front. . . .
[S]everal justices were concerned with the apparent anti-religious animus expressed by members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. . . .
Many progressives have been playing the bigotry card since the inception of this case, but Justice Kennedy raises the possibility that the true bigots may have been the government officials who punished Jack Phillips. . . .
A person’s actions are not the same thing as a person’s identity. Phillips never, ever, discriminated on the basis of identity. He merely refused to use his talents to support actions and messages he believes to be immoral. Justice Kennedy gets the key distinction in this case. Now let’s hope this thought makes it into the opinion of the Court.” (Excerpted from National Review, reporting and analysis by David French. Click HERE to read his excellent analysis in full. Click HERE to read Jack Phillips’ statement following oral argument.)