The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a narrow victory to a Christian baker from Colorado who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
The justices, in a 7-2 decision, faulted the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s handling of the claims brought against Jack Phillips, saying it had showed a hostility to religion. In doing so, the commission violated his religious rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
But the court did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views.
The commission had said Phillips violated the Colorado anti-discrimination law that bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012.
Two of the court’s four liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five conservative justices in the ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
“The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote, referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Kennedy said.
Of the 50 states, 21 including Colorado have anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people.
The closely watched case before the Supreme Court, which in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, pitted gay rights against religious liberty. President Donald Trump’s administration intervened in the case in support of Phillips.
Trump may even pardon former Detroit mayor in November to score Black Michigan votes: Root editor
One of the things President Donald Trump's pardons revealed Tuesday is that Trump isn't above using the judicial system for political purposes, said Jason Johnson, politics editor at "The Root."
In a panel discussion with MSNBC's Brian Williams, Johnson said that it's all indicative of a man who wants to believe that he is an all-powerful king of the United States.
"The goal is Donald Trump wants to use all of the sort of pardons and this commuting of sentences in order to create a commercial," he explained. "It's theater. 'I'm the benevolent king. I can put my thumb up or down like a powerful emperor. Look at all these people I can rescue.' And when he does that, and people come out like Rod Blagojevich, and they say, 'Oh, hey, I owe him this or I'm going to give school (sic) to that person,' it allows him to sort of demonstrate that he's got an imperial presidency."
America’s millionaires just stopped paying into Social Security for the rest of 2020
On Wednesday, not even two full months into 2020, millionaires will stop paying into Social Security for the year due to the program's payroll tax cap.
The cap limits annual wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax to the first $137,700. Sarah Rawlins, program associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), wrote Tuesday that the cap means "someone who makes $1,000,000 per year stops paying into the program on February 19, 2020."
"That makes a millionaire's effective tax rate well below the 6.2% of income that most Americans pay," Rawlins noted. "Instead, it is less than 1% of a millionaire's income. The Social Security tax is only levied on wages, excluding income from other sources like capital gains, meaning those with wages over the cap likely have an effective tax rate even lower than this estimate."
DOJ puts out bizarre late-night statement: AG Bill Barr ‘has no plans to resign’
The Department of Justice put out a statement Tuesday evening denying that Attorney General Bill Barr would be resigning from office.
Kerri Kupec, the director of communications and public affairs at DOJ, issued the statement at 10:28 p.m. in Washington, DC.
"Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign," Kupec announced.
The denial came after a Washington Post report that Barr was considering quitting if Trump continues to tweet about active investigations.