Freedom’s Edge Now Widely Available and a Note About the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

As promised in an earlier post, I am happy to announce that Freedom’s Edge: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and the Future of America (Cambridge University Press 2016) is now widely available through the CUP website, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc. The paperback and electronic editions are far less expensive than the hardcover edition, which is primarily designed for libraries.

Also, an important note for those who have been following the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which is currently before SCOTUS on a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (a petition requesting that the Court hear the case). On September 15 SCOTUS issued an order extending the time for respondents to file their Brief in Opposition to the Petition until November 29, 2016. Once the Brief in Opposition is filed the petitioner can file a Reply Brief. This is usually done within 10 days after the filing of the  Brief in Opposition. This blog will keep you posted as we move toward the SCOTUS’ decides whether to hear the case.

As mentioned in an earlier post the Court denies most petitions for certiorari, but some commentators believe the Court will hear this case. I am not convinced the Court will hear the case because the state courts which have heard cases involving public accommodations have generally been in agreement, and of course, state laws vary widely. The Court would need to be convinced the case presents an important issue under the United States Constitution. The problem is that any argument the Colorado anti-discrimination law is not one of general applicability is weak so the Court’s decision in Employment Div. v. Smith (a case I think was wrongly decided) makes the Free Exercise Clause claim nearly impossible to win. The Free Speech claims are a possible basis for granting the petition, but it is hard to guess what the Justices might think of those claims. On the other hand, the petitioners argue that the United States Courts of Appeals are split on the constitutional issues, which can be quite important in getting the Court to hear a case, and the case presents questions of great public importance with significant implications for both sides. Thus, guidance from the Court could be helpful.

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