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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.

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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Texas Vape Shops File Restraining Order Over Sudden Delta-8 Switcheroo

The rollout of the new law was severely flawed.

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Around the world, attitudes toward the marijuana plant are changing…and rapidly.

Once considered the drug of choice for lazy stoners, wannabe hippies, and professional pizza delivery drivers, recent research into the cannabis plant have shown there to be a myriad of potent compounds within.  And, with the legalization of hemp, (which shares some of these magical effects), even the squares are using CBD creams and edibles to treat everything from muscle soreness to depression and anxiety.

Now, as chemists and agriculturists have concocted a way to make hemp into a very marijuana-like substance, authorities in places where marijuana is still illegal are having trouble with the letter of law and how to apply it to not-quite-synthetic weed.

Texas CBD and vape shops are searching for answers, and some have filed temporary restraining orders against the state after they say health officials abruptly announced last week that they had added delta-8 THC products to their list of Schedule I controlled substances.

Delta-8 is a less-potent alternative to the delta-9 product known as marijuana, though it produces similar effects.

And the rollout of this reading of the law was flawed as well.

Official state documents show that for months, the Department of State Health Services has considered the product illegal.

But Ashley Flood, who owns a CBD American Shaman franchise location in Allen, and other shop owners and consumers say they were never informed of the decision that Commissioner John Hellerstedt announced more than a year ago or the move to update the state’s website.

“We didn’t find out from the state, we didn’t find out from law enforcement, we didn’t find out via letter, email — nothing. We found out from one of our suppliers,” she said after finding out about the change to the DSHS website.

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And despite Flood’s understandable frustration, she has also suggested that her conversations with customer who are in law enforcement belied that the enforcement of this delta-8 rule is not a high priority for Texas authorities.

Around the world, attitudes toward the marijuana plant are changing…and rapidly. Once considered the drug of choice for lazy stoners, wannabe hippies, and professional pizza delivery drivers, recent research into the cannabis plant have shown there to be a myriad of potent compounds within.  And, with the legalization of hemp, (which shares some of these magical effects), even the squares are using CBD creams and edibles to treat everything from muscle soreness to depression and anxiety. Now, as chemists and agriculturists have concocted a way to make hemp into a very marijuana-like substance, authorities in places where marijuana is still illegal are having trouble with the letter of law and how to apply it to not-quite-synthetic weed. Texas CBD and vape shops are searching for answers, and some have filed temporary restraining orders against the state after they say health officials abruptly announced last week that they had added delta-8 THC products to their list of Schedule I controlled substances. Delta-8 is a less-potent alternative to the delta-9 product known as marijuana, though it produces similar effects. And the rollout of this reading of the law was flawed as well. Official state documents show that for months, the Department of State Health Services has considered the product illegal. But Ashley Flood, who owns a CBD American Shaman franchise location in Allen, and other shop owners and consumers say they were never informed of the decision that Commissioner John Hellerstedt announced more than a year ago or the move to update the state’s website. “We didn’t find out from the state, we didn’t find out from law enforcement, we didn’t find out via letter, email — nothing. We found out from one of our suppliers,” she said after finding out about the change to the DSHS website. And despite Flood’s understandable frustration,…

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Int’l Observers Declare Afghanistan’s Collapse is Inevitable

The Biden legacy grows more tarnished by the minute.

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When it’s all said and done, there is little doubt that the debacle in Afghanistan will be a key point in the history of Joe Biden’s presidency.

His blunder, which was a decision to expedite the withdrawal of US forces from the nation after 20 years, allowed the Taliban terror organization to conquer Afghanistan in just 11 days, and forced our nation to abandon a great many American citizens and allies who were trying to escape.

Now, despite the administration’s insistence that this was a “kinder, gentler” Taliban than ruled back in the 1990’s, there are reports of widespread violence against women and minorities, and talk of a potential “collapse” of Afghanistan itself.

Afghanistan will shortly collapse into chaos unless the international community acts rapidly, Swedish and Pakistani ministers warned on Saturday.

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Afghanistan plunged into crisis after the hardline Islamist Taliban movement drove out the Western-backed government in August triggering the abrupt end of billions of dollars in assistance to its aid-dependent economy.

“The country is on the brink of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought,” Swedish development minister Per Olsson Fridh told Reuters in Dubai.

And Fridh wasn’t the only one, either.

Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry later told Reuters that direct engagement with the Taliban was the only way to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, and called for billions of dollars of Afghan assets frozen overseas to be released.
“Are we going to push Afghanistan into chaos or are we going to try and stabilize the country?” he said in Dubai.
It was discovered through congressional testimony that President Biden had been warned of the potential for disaster in Afghanistan, but chose to continue with his expedited withdrawal anyway.

When it’s all said and done, there is little doubt that the debacle in Afghanistan will be a key point in the history of Joe Biden’s presidency. His blunder, which was a decision to expedite the withdrawal of US forces from the nation after 20 years, allowed the Taliban terror organization to conquer Afghanistan in just 11 days, and forced our nation to abandon a great many American citizens and allies who were trying to escape. Now, despite the administration’s insistence that this was a “kinder, gentler” Taliban than ruled back in the 1990’s, there are reports of widespread violence against women and minorities, and talk of a potential “collapse” of Afghanistan itself. Afghanistan will shortly collapse into chaos unless the international community acts rapidly, Swedish and Pakistani ministers warned on Saturday. Afghanistan plunged into crisis after the hardline Islamist Taliban movement drove out the Western-backed government in August triggering the abrupt end of billions of dollars in assistance to its aid-dependent economy. “The country is on the brink of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought,” Swedish development minister Per Olsson Fridh told Reuters in Dubai. And Fridh wasn’t the only one, either. Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry later told Reuters that direct engagement with the Taliban was the only way to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, and called for billions of dollars of Afghan assets frozen overseas to be released. “Are we going to push Afghanistan into chaos or are we going to try and stabilize the country?” he said in Dubai. It was discovered through congressional testimony that President Biden had been warned of the potential for disaster in Afghanistan, but chose to continue with his expedited withdrawal anyway.

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