The Masterpiece Ruling Is A Win For Free Speech, If Nothing Else

The Federalist | 6/14/2018 | Rick Esenberg
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The Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cake was barely out before the battle over its significance began. Was it a bold affirmation of religious liberty or a narrow rebuke of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission? Are professionals such as Christian bakers and wedding photographers free to follow their conscience, or do those who seek to compel them to participate in same-sex marriages simply need to issue commands without scorn for their religious views?

The truth is somewhere in between. The ruling firmly rejects the idea the Constitution ought to provide less protection for speech or religious beliefs that are deemed “offensive” or “hateful.” But it is perfectly consistent with the weak protections for religious liberty ushered in by the Rehnquist Court. The case forestalls further erosion of religious freedom and free speech. It does provide robust new protections. Those who want stronger judicial guarantees of religious freedom may need to turn to state courts.

News - View - Left - Demands - Inclusivity

Let’s start with the good news. There is a growing view on the left that the demands of “inclusivity” and “diversity” operate as an important qualification of First Amendment values. Certain views – promiscuously called “hate speech” – are said to marginalize “historically disfavored” groups and must be silenced in order to “include” the views of these now “protected” groups. New York University’s Ulrich Baer, for example, has argued that society, presumably through the state, must balance “the inherent value of a given view with the obligation to ensure that other members of a given community can participate in discourse as fully recognized members of the community.”

This view has not yet made much headway in the courts and Justice Anthony Kennedy emphatically rejected it. Citing West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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