DOJ Says ‘Forcing’ Baker to ‘Create Expression for and Participate in a Ceremony That Violates His Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs’ Violates the First Amendment
The Justice Department says baking a wedding cake is First Amendment protected expression. In a briefing filed Thursday for a pivotal Supreme Court case the DOJ says Jack PhillipsÂ (photo), owner of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cake Shop, has the right to refuse service to same-sex couples becauseÂ same-sex violates his religious beliefs.
“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote inÂ the Justice Dept. amicus brief, as Buzzfeed reports.
Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ is using language taken directly from the religious right’s talking points, claiming that baking a wedding cake is “participating” in that wedding, and is an act of expression, rather that the creation of a cake.Â
Earlier Thursday four Congressional Republicans joined Phillips, Washington State florist Barronnelle Stutzman who has a similar case, and their attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom, on the steps of Capitol Hill. The group spoke at length on religious liberty, announcing that 86 Republicans had signed an amicus brief also siding with Phillips.
Phillips’ case, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall, began when he refused to bake a cake in 2012 forÂ Charlie Craig and David Mullins. He was found to be in violation ofÂ Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
The Washington Post notes that the Dept. of Justice’s “decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.”
But Louise Melling, the deputy legal counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the couple, said she was taken aback by the filing.
â€œEven in an administration that has already made its hostilityâ€ toward the gay community clear, Melling said, â€œI find this nothing short of shocking.â€
Since taking office, President Trump has moved to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and his Department of Education has done away with guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students.
Justice Department spokesperson Lauren Ehrsam told The Washington Blade “the First Amendment protects the right of free expression for all Americans.”
â€œAlthough public-accommodations laws serve important purposes, they â€” like other laws â€” must yield to the individual freedoms that the First Amendment guarantees,â€ Ehrsam added. â€œThat includes the freedom not to create expression for ceremonies that violate oneâ€™s religious beliefs.â€
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin offered his thoughts via Twitter:
Trump admin arguing for a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people is shocking and wrong. https://t.co/WZJWHhLHdb
â€” Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) September 7, 2017
ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford highlights a portion of the DOJ’s 41-page amicus brief:
The Trump administration actually argues that anti-gay discrimination isn’t as bad as racial discrimination. pic.twitter.com/uiKdwyr5en
â€” Zack Ford (@ZackFord) September 7, 2017
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‘Groveling Before White Supremacists’: GOP Senate Candidate Slammed for ‘Going Fully Anti-Semitic’
A Republican candidate for the seat currently held by retiring U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) was both criticized for antisemitism and mocked for accidentally yet accurately linking extremism with conservatism on Monday.
Venture capitalist J.D. Vance, whose former boss, billionaire PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel has invested $10 million in a PAC supporting him, posted the strange tweet attacking the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL is a civil rights organization dedicated to “monitoring, tracking and responding to antisemitism in the United States.” Vance is the author of “Hillbilly Elegy.”
He retweeted this post from disclose.tv and called the ADL “a joke of an organization that just goes after conservatives.”
Remember that the ADL is now a joke of an organization that just goes after conservatives.
Repeat after me: the next stage of deplatforming will be denying access to the financial system. https://t.co/rRIuQl0Iot
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) July 26, 2021
Some slammed Vance’s tweet as antisemitic:
It always goes well when demagogues tell angry white men that the Jews control their economic future and are against them. https://t.co/zjALG5YwNu
— Bill Bold (@WilliamBold2) July 26, 2021
…and J.D. Vance has apparently decided that going fully anti-Semitic is the key to winning a Senate seat. https://t.co/wLXIHguJiw
— Swiss Army Nerd (@wesmorgan1) July 26, 2021
I see we’ve hit the JEEEEEWS CONTROL THE BANKS!! stage of Vance’s campaign.
— Audley: hiding her sins with paint (@AudleyZDarke) July 26, 2021
Look, instead of coming up with a clever, sarcastic dunk on J.D. Vance, let’s just all calm down and admit he’s complaining about secret Jewish control over the banks https://t.co/T2EmDquefX
— jesse taylor (@jesseltaylor) July 26, 2021
JD Vance is an antisemite. Pass it on. https://t.co/SDsC6bXv1g
— Alexandra Zapruder (@AZapruder) July 26, 2021
Remember when this mook actually wrote a book of nuance and memory? now he’s an asshat groveling before white supremacists and oppressive shitsloops he sails right toward the horizon of his oblivion. https://t.co/LOGFHppRFo
— Dileep Rao🇺🇸 (@leepers500) July 26, 2021
He’s going full Nazi now https://t.co/7vQTmoYpFB
— rabidwvufan🌊 (@AmyAyers16) July 26, 2021
Coincidentally, Vance’s main primary opponent is Jewish.
Vance can’t possibly out-crazy Mandel; all he’s got left is anti-Semitism. https://t.co/32yfJzv230
— Tom Hilton (@TVHilton) July 26, 2021
Who was that other guy who ran for office after he wrote a shitty book and got obsessed with Jews.
— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) July 26, 2021
this is blatantly antisemitic https://t.co/XBKOe6hGff
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 26, 2021
Nice way to say “Jews control the financial systems” there. https://t.co/YAHipTPZaf
— ((( Glenn Hauman ))) (@GlennHauman) July 26, 2021
Ah, yes. Self-identified “Christian” dog-whistles a warning that liberal Jews (the ADL is an organization that fights anti-Semitism) will deny all access “to the financial system” to anyone else.
Dude: Space laser your account.
— Dean Gloster (@deangloster) July 26, 2021
Others just mocked him for accidentally speaking the truth about “extremist and hate movements.”
So you admit that “uncovering and disrupting the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements” is “going after conservatives?” Interesting. https://t.co/lGNFUfUD7K
— Jay LIT AF Adams (@Jayman_IWS) July 26, 2021
The Venn diagram of extremist hate groups and “conservatives” is a circle.
Maybe that’s your problem, not the ADL. https://t.co/gav0GO5z3L
— Fully Vaxxed Karen won’t “Move on” (@geokaren) July 26, 2021
You just took the side of extremist hate movements. Out loud.
— minnesorta (@minnesorta) July 26, 2021
Big fan of extremist hate groups are we?
— A.R. Moxon (@JuliusGoat) July 26, 2021
Repeat after me: if you see “extremist and hate movements” and immediately think “conservatives”, conservatives may have an extremism problem.
— Tom Wills (@foot_on_foot) July 26, 2021
So, you admit that the extremists and hate groups are all conservatives? https://t.co/YDBtYby2Vf
— Attitude with a side of freckles (@HazeyDaisey17) July 26, 2021
Psaki Forced to Explain COVID Basics to Fox News Reporter Asking ‘Whose Fault’ Is It Pandemic Cases Spiking
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday was forced to explain the basics of the coronavirus pandemic to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy after he tried to blame the increase in COVID-19 cases on President Joe Biden, bt asking, “whose fault” is it that the numbers are “going in the wrong direction.”
Naturally, the answer is those who could be vaccinated yet are still refusing to do so.
“On COVID Dr. Fauci says we’re going in the wrong direction. Whose fault is that?” Doocy asked.
“Well,” Psaki replied, “I would say first what he was referring to is the fact that because there are still a large population of people in this country who were unvaccinated. And we have the most transmissible variants that we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic that more people are getting sick with COVID, and that’s not, those numbers are not moving in the right direction. I think that’s accurate and you can see it by data.”
Doocy works for one of the top conservative cable channels that possibly has spread more coronavirus and vaccine disinformation than almost any other.
Doocy: On COVID, Dr. Fauci says we’re going in the wrong direction. Whose fault is that? pic.twitter.com/svCr36nG7G
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 26, 2021
McCarthy Attacks Cheney and Kinzinger as ‘Pelosi Republicans’ – Says He’ll ‘See’ After Call to Punish Them
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is responding to a growing chorus of his House GOP caucus members, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who are calling on him to “punish” Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for agreeing to sit on the U.S. Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
“The push to seek punishment rose to a new level on Sunday, after Pelosi announced that Kinzinger had accepted her invitation to join the committee. Initially, most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight, but Kinzinger’s addition has changed the conversation and has put a new level of pressure on McCarthy,” CNN reports.
Some members, including Gaetz, want McCarthy to strip the two Republicans of all their committee assignments but CNN notes Speaker Pelosi could merely re-appoint them. Regardless, the extremists on the right “believe Cheney and Kinzinger need to be reprimanded for not remaining loyal to the conference.”
The Daily Mail’s Emily Goodin reports McCarthy is indulging his more Trumpian tendencies, calling Cheney and Kinzinger names.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told me “we’ll see” when asked if Cheney and Kinzinger will be punished for serving on Jan 6 committee. I asked him the last time he talked to either of them: “Couldn’t tell you.” He called them “Pelosi Republicans.” pic.twitter.com/jMyjJBoq5I
— Emily Goodin (@Emilylgoodin) July 26, 2021
Meanwhile, Rep. Gaetz makes clear he sees all this as just a game, angry that one of the GOP’s best “players” has been benched.
Kevin McCarthy should be stronger in taking action against Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney.
If they’re going to take Nancy Pelosi appointments to committees, we should probably remove them as Republican representatives on the House Armed Services and Energy & Commerce committees. pic.twitter.com/A1nQVEUcf0
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) July 26, 2021
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