Written by Don Byrd
[UPDATE 10/9/17: The Supreme Court has announced that oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case will be held on Tuesday, December 5.]
In addition to ruling in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer (see post here), the U.S. Supreme Court made two other important decisions today in closely watched cases that may have an impact on religious liberty law.
The Court agreed to review the Trump administration’s revised “travel ban” executive order while partially lifting the injunction halting the order pending the appeal. They will also hear the appeal in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a controversial case involving a bakery owner’s refusal — citing his religious beliefs — to provide services for a same-sex wedding, despite state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
In response to the Court’s decision to hear the “travel ban” case, BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler said the following:
The Supreme Court now has the opportunity to make clear that the First Amendment prohibits relegating certain faiths to second-class status or using religious identity as an excuse for exclusion. The Baptist Joint Committee will be closely engaged in the days to come to be sure that our Baptist witness of religious freedom for all is represented in the arguments. Meanwhile, we can all redouble our efforts to condemn religious bigotry in all its forms.
In response to the Court’s decision to accept review of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman said the following:
Nondiscrimination and religious liberty are important principles that should be protected, but they have increasingly come into conflict in the area of wedding services. By taking this case, the Supreme Court will wade into a developing area of law that is highly contentious. The extent to which free speech and free exercise rights demand an exception to an otherwise applicable law is a perennial legal challenge, especially where providing an exception affects the rights of others.”