ADF to Colorado: Stop going after Jack
WHO: ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, representing Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop
WHAT: Press conference following hearing in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Elenis
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 18, immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. MST
WHERE: U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Alfred A. Arraj U.S. Courthouse, 901 19th St., Courtroom A-1002, Denver. Media interviews will take place outside of the court building.
DENVER – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, will be in federal court Tuesday seeking to stop Colorado officials from violating his constitutionally protected freedoms. One of Phillips’ attorneys, ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, will be available for media interviews outside the courthouse after the hearing concludes.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Colorado cannot treat Phillips differently than other cake artists who decline custom projects based on the messages they convey, the state has continued to apply a double standard and demonstrate hostility toward him and his beliefs. After an attorney complained to the state about Phillips’ decision not to create a gender-transition cake designed pink on the inside and blue on the outside, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the same state agency that lost its case against Phillips at the Supreme Court in June, filed a formal complaint against him. That same attorney later asked Phillips to design a cake with satanic themes and images—a request that Phillips declined because of his faith.
“The same agency that the Supreme Court rebuked as hostile to Jack Phillips remains committed to treating him unequally and forcing him to express messages that violate his religious beliefs,” said Campbell, who will argue before the court Tuesday. “Jack serves all customers, and he is even happy to serve the attorney who lodged the complaint against him. But Jack doesn’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his deeply held beliefs. One current commissioner has publicly referred to Jack as a ‘hater’ on Twitter, one of several indications of the commission’s ongoing bias against Jack and his beliefs. We’re asking the federal court to immediately stop Colorado’s efforts to punish Jack in order to shield him from a biased agency and ensure that he is not forced to express messages that violate his faith.”
In light of the commission’s continued bias against Phillips and his religious beliefs, ADF argues that the state is violating his due-process rights, and that he cannot be guaranteed a fair hearing by the commission. The brief also notes that the commission’s adjudicative process is flawed because the same commissioners act as both accusers and adjudicators in the same case, an arrangement that the Supreme Court condemned in a 2016 decision.
Over his years as a cake artist, Phillips has declined to create cakes with various messages that violate his faith, including messages that demean LGBT people, express racism, celebrate Halloween, promote marijuana use, and celebrate or support Satan.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
# # # | Ref. 64577