SCOTUS Drops the Ball: Allows WA State Attack On Business Owner’s Religious Freedom

P. Gardner Goldsmith | July 8, 2021

The Thirteenth Amendment, bad Supreme Court precedents, government attacks on freedom of association, and many politicians’ alarming ignorance of the difference between public property and private property appear to be themes on which MRCTV has had to focus a lot, lately.

And now, we can add to it government attacks on freedom of conscience and religion.

Thanks to supposedly conservative Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Chief Justice John Roberts joining the leftist faction of the court, a challenge to a so-called “Anti-Discrimination” statute in Washington State will not be heard in US “high court,” leaving in place a lower court ruling against a floral arranger’s right to run her own business.

The case stems from a 2006 state statute that prohibits any business from supposedly “discriminating against” -- i.e., freely choosing not to engage in business with – anyone for numerous reasons the state politicians say are bad, including a potential customer's sexual orientation.

As a result, in 2017, the Washington State supreme court ruled against florist Barronelle Stutzman, proprietor of Arlene’s Flowers, in Richland, after she was found to be in violation of the law for refusing to create a flower arrangement for a gay couple’s wedding.

Stutzman is a Christian, and, though she had made arrangements for the two men in the past (and has employed homosexual employees), she refused to participate in contributing to a gay marriage, because her religious beliefs define marriage as a pairing of man and woman. In doing so, she was not discriminating against the persons themselves, but rather the ceremony in which they were participating and asking her to decorate.

Of course, the state doesn’t like that position, and the state places itself above God.

LifeSiteNews’ Calvin Freiburger offers a good overview of this, and of the now-legendary legal lead-up we’ve seen moving from other states into the United States Supreme Corut.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that the government may force Christians to serve same-sex ‘weddings,’ a decision the U.S. Supreme Court vacated in 2018, with directions that the lower court consider the case again in light of SCOTUS’s then-recent ruling in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips (which did not end the similar attacks on Phillips).

Yet the Washington Supreme Court ruled against Stutzman again in 2019, prompting her attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to again petition the nation’s highest court.

And now, that appeal has been rebuffed by all of the SCOTUS Justices save for Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito, who would have heard Stutzman’s case against the state action.

Some might wonder why a 2018 SCOTUS “win” for Jack Phillips of Colorado-based “Masterpiece Cakeshop” in his refusal to serve a same-sex couple doesn’t come into play here.

That’s because it was pyrrhic victory that did not look at the Colorado “anti-discrimination” statute as it applied to all businesses, but only at how unevenly the statute was enforced, i.e., how it was enforced in a targeted way against Phillips and not at other shops that had declined to do business with same-sex couples.

The question of whether states “constitutionally” can dictate to people that they must do business with those whom the state commands? That remains unanswered by the SCOTUS.

And it is here that we should insert some ethical questions.

If the state can tell a business owner that he or she must engage in a transaction with someone, can the state tell a consumer the same thing? If you visit Washington State or Colorado or another state with “anti-discrimination” statutes such as these, can you be TOLD to purchase something from a shop run by someone whose principles you find incongruent with your own?

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips already is facing a new legal hassle from Colorado for choosing not to enter into a contract with a so-called “transgender” person who demanded service. Shouldn’t he be able to exercise his right to say, “no?”

This is a problem arising more and more, and I am writing about it more and more. Just two days ago, I wrote about a new Ohio statute that supposedly will protect medical professionals who suffer the extreme equivalent of this trend of people demanding service contrary to the morals of the potential provider. In that case, the focus was on people demanding from medical professionals abortions or so-called “sex-change” operations, and I noted how the contemporary disrespect for private property and free association stems from two key events in US history:

  1. The 1946 SCOTUS decision in the case “Marsh v. Alabama,” which destroyed the concept of private property and turned it into de jure “public property” in the eyes of politicians – even though said private property doesn’t use tax money to function, and public property does (that being the literal distinction between PRIVATE and PUBLIC property).
  2. The “Public Accommodations” portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which used that FDR-era SCOTUS ruling to tell business owners that their businesses no longer would be respected as private property, and would be called “public” places, making them accept people the government commanded, destroying the right to freely associate or not associate, and creating a government-imposed destruction of the Thirteenth Amendment.

And what does the Thirteenth Amendment have to do with it?

As I mentioned in my July 6 piece, not only does that amendment prohibit slavery, it also prohibits involuntary servitude. A state telling business owners that they must, INVOLUNTARLY, provide services to people is, by definition, involuntary servitude.

Related: Three Republicans Help House Dems Pass Perverse, Orwellian 'Equality Act'

If one is a novelist, can he or she decline a proposal to write a novel he doesn't want to write? As I mentioned in the July 6 piece, if one is on the dating market, can one not “discriminate” and say “no” if someone asks for a dinner date, regardless of how good the food might be?

Do humans not have the right to say, “NO?!!”

Don’t count on the Supreme Court supporting the idea that we do.

In response to the new SCOTUS refusal to hear the Washington State case, Stutzman’s legal representatives, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Tweeted:

Barronelle Stutzman kindly served a gay customer for YEARS before declining to make art for a ceremony that's sacred in her religion. She was sued & persecuted for acting on deeply held beliefs. SCOTUS' decision not to hear this case is disappointing –– but our fight isn't over.

It certainly is not.

It never will be over, as long as the polis -- i.e. the state, i.e. government -- exists and claims a power over us that runs contrary to our God-given right of self-ownership.

Related: Actor Rob Schneider Hammers CA Gavin Newsom’s Nutty 'Holiday Lockdown'