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Commentary By James R. Copland

MI Responds: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Governance Civil Justice

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which concerns a baker who refused to prepare a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, based on his religious objections.

Though the case has been framed as creating a tension between two broadly accepted principles  -- nondiscrimination and religious freedom -- it is likely to be resolved on the basis of a third, the First Amendment's freedom of speech.

Most people would likely object to a government rule that an African-American baker had to design a cake with a Confederate flag or that a dress designer would have to create a dress for Melania Trump, and the same principle is likely to win the day in this case -- without blowing a hole in state antidiscrimination laws.

MI Responds features real-time commentary from MI scholars on breaking news and developing issues.


James R. Copland is a senior fellow and director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute.