This article is a short summary of the oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on December 5, 2017. In the article, I provide a few bits of commentary. But, this is primarily a summary.1 Hopefully, it can spur each of us on to consider the issue of soul liberty in the public square in these troubled times.
Kristen Waggoner, Philipps’ attorney, argued his objection is not to the people who want the cake. Instead, the objection is the message it communicates. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from forcing people to express messages that their violate religious convictions” (4:12-19). The back and forth centered on this point. What is “speech?” How do you separate the identity of the customer from the message the product communicates?