[Ed. – Interesting to ponder what the DOJ is and isn’t doing. It isn’t going to charge Lois Lerner. That could be seen as an action with a principally punitive purpose. It IS filing an amicus brief for liberty of conscience — an action with a principally constructive purpose. Just musing. I would be OK with charging Lois Lerner. But maybe there’s a…grander plan being worked out here.]
The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, was hauled before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after refusing to bake a cake for two gay men. At the time, gay marriage wasn’t even legal in Colorado. The couple planned to be married in Massachusetts and come back home to celebrate. The Civil Rights Commission ruled against him, ordering him not only to make cakes for gay couples, but to submit regular reports detailing steps he took to prove he no longer discriminated.
Phillips lost his appeal in the state Supreme Court, but won a hearing before the Supreme Court of the U.S.
“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights in a manner akin to the governmental intrusion in Hurley,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote in the brief.
In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled in Hurley v. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston that a private group of citizens organizing a public demonstration could not be compelled by the state government to include other groups whose message was contrary to their own. …
Justice Department officials then argued that the baking of a cake is a service that is a form of expression and is thus protected under the First Amendment.