Masterpiece Cakeshop 2.0?
The Supreme Court on Monday will hear oral arguments in a case that strikes at thorny questions at the intersection of free speech and anti-discrimination law in what may look like courtroom déjà vu.
The plaintiff is a web designer whose religious objection to providing wedding websites for same-sex couples would run afoul of a Colorado anti-discrimination law. Substitute the web designer with a baker and websites with cakes, and it’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission all over again.
In that case, the Supreme Court issued a narrow 7-2 ruling in 2018 that the state of Colorado was inappropriately hostile toward cake baker Jack Phillips—but without addressing the case’s broader First Amendment issues. This time, in 303 Creative v. Elenis, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a more sweeping ruling in considering whether “applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment.”
The plaintiff, Lori Smith, owns a graphic and website design business called 303 Creative and says she plans to expand offerings to include wedding websites. Because of her religious beliefs—Smith is a Christian—she wants to limit her products to marriages between heterosexual couples and post a disclaimer on her website to that effect.