As you have probably heard by now, the Supreme Court reached an important decision on Monday June 4th2018. They were hearing the case of Masterpiece Cake Shop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
In 2012 Jack Phillips—the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop—refused to design a cake for a same-sex couple on grounds of his religious beliefs. The gay couple, took offense and filed suit. They did so with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The ruling from the Commission favored the gay couple, saying Jack had no right to refuse service to them. There was also a list of things Jack was given to comply with if he wished to continue doing business. Jack wasn’t satisfied with the ruling and the case went to the state court with the same results. Now, six years later the Supreme Court has finally held hearings on the case. They handed down a decision in favor of Jack and his business 7-2. The dissenters were Ruth Bater Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
It was a refreshing victory after the string of nonsensical rulings while Obama was in office. And while we have every reason to celebrate, it is but a small stepping stone.
For starters, the majority opinion was not made based on any constitutional rights Jack had, as it should have been. Instead, it was made around the fact that the Civil Rights Commission didn’t exercise ‘religious neutrality’ when making their decision against Jack. In fact, so much to the contrary, that a certain Commissioner made holocaust and slavery comparisons when Jack cited his religious rights as a reason not to serve the gay couple. Also the Commission was stated to have shown a double standard since it allowed shops to refuse designing cakes that seemed to convey anti-gay messages.
These are all valid points—don’t get me wrong—but it falls way short of the crux of the issue. This may have been done intentionally as the court waits and feels out the political climate for a while before addressing these issues.
This should not be the case, since our courts are supposed to be immune to the ebb and flow of political power in other branches. Their job is to interpret laws based on their knowledge of law and the constitution. Primarily the constitution, since it trumps all other laws. But it seems our courts have been corrupted. How else would you explain the fact that they handed down major rulings in favor of progressive agendas while Obama was in office, and are now softening a bit as conservatives hold more power in other branches?
Maybe I’m a little cynical but it appears our courts have become just another politicized institution, and have completely lost their original purpose. All the more reason why we need to remain vigilant in our elections, so we can once more appoint judges who will uphold the constitution.
On the bright side, this has every possibility of happening under our current president. Neil Gorsuch—a Trump nominee—seems to be doing great as a justice who upholds the job as intended, and I have every hope Donald Trump will have the opportunity to appoint more Justices similar to him.