Good News for the First Amendment


Colorado lost its first attempt to crush Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop in a 7-to-2 Supreme Court decision affirming the baker’s First Amendment right to practice his religion and not bake a cake dedicated to promoting something contrary to his beliefs. In response, the Colorado (so-called) Civil Rights Commission filed a second case against Phillips. In response, Phillips sued the Commission in federal court alleging violation of his civil rights.

The Daily Signal reports that both the Commission and Phillips have dropped their cases.

The members of the state’s commission could have been held “personally liable” for harassment if the matter continued, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“It’s probably because they may have finally gotten scared that they were going to get hit with sanctions for, in essence, directly thumbing their nose at the Supreme Court and the court’s decision in this issue,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “It could make them personally liable for damages if they abuse their positions to try to harass an individual.”

In the 7-2 majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [Phillips’] objection[.]”

It’s amazing how the possibility of being held personally responsible for one’s virtue signaling can change someone’s perspective. Actual accountability and the possibility of real consequences usually moderates behavior.

We need to see more of this.