In the midst of all the attention on the censorship of the government and election interference, an important story is unfolding in the Supreme Court. On Monday the Justices were given the oral argument in a matter that centers on a web developer who is religiously opposed to designing websites for identical couples.
Of course, Lorie Smith, who is the CEO of a company named 303 Creative, is based in Colorado. The state has been the center of religious liberty-related cases, which were famous for its discrimination against cake maker Jack Phillips.
During oral arguments, conservative justices appeared to be leaning towards being in support of Smith who has argued that it is against her convictions to create websites promoting gay marriage. There are two arguments that point to this leaning:
The doublespeak that exists is just staggering. Colorado has set up a system that allows business owners to be discriminatory against people who are religious, however religious people aren't able to follow their own religious beliefs in their lives. The inscrutable differentiation in “status” is simply a cheap excuse to legitimize the hypocrisy of ideology. Barrett's questioning style was clearly designed to draw attention to the hypocrisy, and she succeeded.
The most memorable moment of the day was with Justice Neil Gorsuch, though. When he questioned the solicitor general about Jack Phillips' case, Gorsuch managed to perfectly expose the skewed nature of Colorado's law enforcement laws. This article doesn't include everything that was said and you should take the time to listen to the entire interview.
Gorsuch actually began things by changing the solicitor general's description of the matter, and it was satisfactory by itself. Then he aimed to discuss concerns about Colorado laws that protect religious freedom, saying with some humor that it's supposed to be doing so “in theory.” That led the solicitor general to declare that there was no case of law not recognizing the right to religious freedom.
It's understandable why Gorsuch did not want to listen to this kind of absurdity, noting it was true that Jack Phillips had been put through a re-education process in order to respect his religious beliefs. The solicitor general was left trying to clarify why it was not an educational program, despite the fact that its goal was to refresh the minds of.
If you listen to the conversation, Gorsuch is pretty obviously likely to support the designer of the website and that's the correct choice given the fundamental principles of the right to religious liberty are at stake in this case. It's not too difficult to figure out which side Barrett will be on as justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas are also slam dunks, if the past is any indication. This leaves Justice Kavanaugh as the swing vote as Justice Roberts will do what always does in the past, which is to be a coward, trying to find a non-workable middle space.
The Jack Phillips case was decided in 2004; the court backed down and gave Phillips the victory because of a technicality which did not address the issue at hand. The shaming of Phillips as well as others goes on to be a problem to this day.