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SCOTUS Hands Major Victory to Colorado Christian Baker in Latest Ruling

Great news!

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Jack Phillips, owner and operator of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado received some excellent news from the Supreme Court, as a 7-2 decision ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated his First Amendment rights.

The majority opinion was penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who as joined by Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, and Stephen Breyer. Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the opinion and the result, pushing it to 7-2 in favor of Mr. Phillips, which overturned the 10 Circuit’s decision in support of the CCRC’s actions.

The two dissenting votes, unsurprisingly, are Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

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The case concerned the plight of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to bake a number of different kinds of cakes, based on his religious principles. For example, he refused to bake cakes that celebrated divorces, cakes that were infused with alcohol, cakes with obscene language or artwork, or cakes celebrating same-sex weddings.

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Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop were sued by a gay couple under a Colorado state law (the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act) that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation by any “place of business engaged in any sales to the public[.]”

Under CADA, the case was handled by the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which found that Masterpiece was in violation of the law and referred Masterpiece for a formal hearing in front of a state administrative law judge (ALJ). The Commission rejected Masterpiece’s argument that compelling him to bake the cake would violate his rights under the First Amendment.

In ruling in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the court declined to make sweeping rulings about the propriety of such laws as CADA generally, but instead focused on what it considered shortcomings in the Civil Rights Commission’s deliberative processes.

Writing for the court, Justice Kennedy explained that “Colorado law can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public, the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

The opinion was fully focused on the open hostility that the CCRC displayed toward religion:

Indeed, while the instant enforcement proceedings were pending, the State Civil Rights Division concluded in at least three cases that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations that demeaned gay persons or gay marriages. Phillips too was entitled to a neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case… That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. No commissioners objected to the comments. Nor were they mentioned in the later state-court ruling or disavowed in the briefs filed here. The comments thus cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commission’s adjudication of Phillips’ case.

While this is a major victory for the First Amendment and Phillips, it’s important to note this ruling does not answer the question, definitively, whether or not businesses may categorically refuse to provide certain services for same-sex weddings, which means this is a topic that will likely be tackled at a later time.

Still, you have to appreciate every victory, no matter how small, and this is definitely one of those moments.

Source: TheBlaze

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Amazon Rolls Out Creepy ‘Pay By Palm’ Hardware at Whole Foods

Is this one of the harbingers of a cashless society?

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Throughout much of modern history, Americans and their cash were two separate things.  One was a human being, breathing and walking about, earning money.  The money was an inanimate commodity of varying value that we used to keep the organism alive, fat, and happy. But in the future, it seems as though we may find ourselves intrinsically, and anatomically indistinguishable from our bank account.  In fact, it appears as though Amazon is banking on it. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said it is rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle starting on Wednesday, letting shoppers pay for items with a scan of their palm. The move shows how Amazon is bringing some of the technology already in use at its namesake brick-and-mortar Go and Books stores to the grocery chain it acquired in 2017. The system, called Amazon One, lets customers associate a credit card with their palm print. It offers a contact-less alternative to cash and card payments, Amazon said. Of course, the move is being regarded as a terrifying leap into Orwellian territory by privacy experts, as it appears to push us ever closer to a cashless society where hackers and power failures could doom us all to poverty in the blink of an eye.

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Fraternal Order of Police Responds to LeBron James’ Tweet Fiasco

And they were NOT happy.

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Lebron james

The politicization of American sports has been ongoing for some time, perhaps decades, but the most recent acceleration of this melding has come thanks to the power of social media and the blurring of the line between celebrity and athlete. At the forefront of this movement has been the NBA, and, more specifically, superstar LeBron James. This week, James came under fire for a tweet in which he referenced the Derek Chauvin trial’s guilty verdicts, with a photo of another officer who was involved in the shooting of a young black girl and text stating “you’re next”. The tweet was seen as a threat by many, including the Fraternal Order of Police who responded harshly. On Wednesday, James tweeted a photo of the officer involved in the shooting with a caption reading “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.” The tweet has since been deleted. James was reacting to the deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Hours later, the National Fraternal Order of Police tweeted a photo of James’ original tweet, saying: “[email protected], with his vast resources & influence, should educate himself and, frankly, has a responsibility to do so, on the facts before weighing in. This is disgraceful & extremely reckless. The officer saved a young girl’s life. No amount of gaslighting will change that fact.” James attempted to walk back the tweet after deleting it, by issuing an explanation that garnered only a lukewarm response online.

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