Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch asked Monday whether Colorado baker Jack Phillips was forced to undergo “reeducation” after refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
Gorsuch’s question came during oral arguments in the case of 303 Creative v. Elenis. Lorie Smith, who owns 303 Creative and provides graphic and web design services, sued the state in 2016 because she did not want to create wedding websites for same-sex couples, arguing the law violated her First Amendment rights.
The case is similar to that of a 2018 case involving baker Jack Phillips, also from Colorado, who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The Supreme Court ruled that Phillips was not given a fair hearing before the state Civil Rights Commission due to anti-religious bias. The court did not, however, overturn Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws or answer the question of whether Phillips had the right to discriminate against LGBT couples.
Gorsuch invoked the case Monday while questioning Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson.
“Mr. Phillips did go through a reeducation program pursuant to Colorado law, did he not?” Gorsuch asked. (RELATED: Supreme Court Amends Oral Argument Transcript After Liberal Commentators Claim Gorsuch Misstated Flu Death Toll)
“He went through a process that ensured he was familiar with—” Olson began to say before Gorsuch interjected.
“It was a reeducation program, right?” the justice said.
“It was not a reeducation program,” Olson responded.
“What do you call it?” Gorsuch asked.
“It was a process to make sure he was familiar with Colorado law,” Olson said.
Gorsuch: “Jack Phillips [the cake baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop] had to go through a reeducation program, did he not?”
CO Solicitor General: “It was a training to educate him about Colorado law.
Gorsuch: “Some might be excused for calling that a reeducation program.” pic.twitter.com/tuKx7MPG9Z
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 5, 2022
“Some might be excused for calling that a reeducation program,” Gorsuch quipped.
Prior to Phillips’ case heading to the Supreme Court, Phillips was ordered to ensure his staff had comprehensive training on Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws after the Civil Rights Commission ruled that Phillips violated the law by refusing to bake the cake.
Phillips was once again sued after he refused to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. A court ruled against Phillips in June 2021, prompting Phillips to appeal. The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop on October but has not yet announced a decision.