The Supreme Court Victory for the Baker Was Not “Narrow”

The Supreme Court victory was 7-2 with liberal justices also disagreeing with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The mainstream media seemed to be encouraging a misunderstanding of the Supreme Court victory yesterday. They were ostensibly trying to communicate that it was a narrow ruling—meaning that is was specific to some particulars of the Colorado case that might not apply to other cases. But the way they expressed this was likely to be understood as a narrow margin of victory among the voting justices.

The vote was seven to two. Liberals sided with the Christian baker!

Here’s NBC’s headline: “Supreme Court Rules Narrowly for Baker in Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case.

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The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Monday for a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

I guess there is a distinction between “ruled narrowly” and “narrowly ruled,” but there are less confusing ways to write. The story goes on to reveal that the Supreme Court vote was seven to two. And the Justices were specifically condemning anti-religious bigotry on the part of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

But when the justices heard arguments in December, Kennedy was plainly bothered by comments by a commission member. The commissioner seemed “neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs,” Kennedy said in December.

That same sentiment suffused his opinion on Monday. “The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” he wrote.

Read the full NBC Chicago news story.

The conservative media gave more details. The Daily Caller reports, “Christian Baker Prevails At Supreme Court In Same-Sex Wedding Cake Dispute.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling Monday in favor of a Christian baker […], concluding a state agency did not apply anti-discrimination law in a neutral manner.

[…]

“As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust,” Kennedy wrote.

He also noted that the commission’s decision respecting Phillips was inconsistent with its treatment of similar disputes.

[…]

In those instances, the agency concluded that the expression requested could reasonably be attributed to the bakers, justifying their refusal to accommodate the patrons. Those decisions also explained that the bakeries at issue produced goods for religious life cycle events like baptisms, bar mitzvahs, or first communions, defeating claims of anti-religious animus.

In Phillips’ case […] the commission said the cake’s message could only be imputed to the customer, and ignored his willingness to sell generic baked good to all comers.

Read the full DC story.

Though the ruling was narrow, in some ways the Supreme Court majority opinion was better for Christians. It directly addressed anti-Christian zeal on the part of government. This leaves open the door for a worse ruling in another case but it also gives Christians an opening to deal with anti-religious bias!

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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