The Masterpiece Cakeshop baker who won a Supreme Court victory in June is now facing another legal battle after a judge refused to dismiss the latest complaint from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel signaled he plans to reject a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging that Mastershop Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips refused to bake a cake celebrating a transgender’s gender transition anniversary based on religious reasons.
“I’m inclined to deny the motion to dismiss,” Daniel said, according to The Washington Times. “I don’t think I have enough information to rule on this request for injunctive relief.”
The newspaper reported that the judge also told Phillips‘ attorneys to prepare a new, narrower request for a temporary injunction and prepare for an evidentiary hearing on the matter in February.
Jim Campbell, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Phillips, said he thinks the case could make its way to the Supreme Court in what many are calling “Masterpiece II,” The Washington Times reported.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phillips in a case that involved his refusal to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The ruling specifically noted what it called the civil rights commission’s “hostility” toward the baker.
Then-Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”
Campbell told the Washington Times, “What we have is the state of Colorado blatantly ignoring key portions of what the Supreme Court just said to them.”
“The Supreme Court might not take very kindly to that, and so it very well might end up at the nation’s highest court again,” he added.
The commission brought the new complaint after Phillips refused to bake a cake, pink on the inside with blue on the outside, celebrating the anniversary of a transgender’s “transition.”
The transgender, Autumn Scardina, was offended that the cakeshop wouldn’t bake the cake for religious reasons and proceeded to file a complaint with the commission on the exact same day the Supreme Court decided to hear Phillips’ previous case.
Campbell said that he thinks this whole scenario was an “obvious setup,” The Washington Times reported.
The commission argued that the baker had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, and used Justice Elana Kagan’s concurring opinion as justification for the ruling.
Assistant Attorney General LeeAnn Morrill argued that the commission used “the Kagan rule” and said, “if you make a pink-and-blue cake for one customer, you must make a pink-and-blue cake for every customer.”
Campbell fired back, saying that the state was focusing too much on the colors rather than on the message. He argued that forcing the baker to make such a cake would violate his First Amendment rights.
“A blue cake with a pink interior means something different at a graduation party or a birthday party, but the state ignores that,” Campbell told The Washington Times.
He added, “Mr. Phillips just wants to be treated the same as other cake artists.”
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