As for Points on Free Exercise of Religion

Arguing the free exercise issue was left to the attorney representing the state of Colorado and the attorney for the gay couple. The two attorneys were asked again and again to consider and respond to comparisons and hypotheticals. Justice Samuel Alito asked why the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had allowed other bakers to reject cake orders that criticized homosexuality but had disallowed Phillips’ refusal based on his religion.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked whether a Catholic organization that provides legal services to the poor could be forced to sue Masterpiece Cakeshop if so asked, and Colorado’s attorney said that if an organization is open to all comers and “operating like a retail store,” it could be forced to accept such clients. Alito said he had learned that some businesses write both vows and speeches for weddings. Could such a business be forced to provide such written expressions for a same-sex marriage? The couple’s attorney avoided answering the question.

The attorney for Colorado answered in the negative to a question concerning whether Masterpiece could affiliate with and refer customers to another cakeshop that provided cakes for same-sex weddings. Justice Neil Gorsuch wondered whether the “comprehensive staff training” the commission imposed on Phillips requires Phillips to “speak in ways that maybe offend his religion and certainly compel him to speak.” The attorneys opposing Phillips and Justice Ginzburg answered that Phillips would only have to speak about obeying the law.



What Supreme Court Justices Wanted To Know In Masterpiece Cakeshop Oral Arguments
Except for justices Kagan and Ginzburg, an uneasiness about the case was evident to a greater and lesser degree among the other 7 Supreme Court justices.