Portland, Oregon Civil Litigation Defense Attorneys - Kaempf Law Firm PC

A Blog by John Kaempf

The important religious freedom issue raised by Oregon’s “Sweetcakes by Melissa” gay wedding-Christian bakery case will be decided in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case from Colorado called “Masterpiece Cakeshop.”

Jack Phillips owns Masterpiece Cakeshop, a bakery in a small Colorado town. In the summer of 2012, two men came into his shop one afternoon asking him to make a cake for their gay wedding. Jack responded: “I’m sorry, but I can’t promote messages that violate my beliefs, though I’d be happy to sell you anything else.”

Phillips has been a Christian for over thirty-five years and believes in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He also believes that decorating cakes is a form of art, that he can honor God through his artistic talents, and that he would displease God by creating cakes for same-sex marriages. Continue reading

In June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case called “Trinity Lutheran Church,” held that churches cannot be excluded from neutral state programs for public benefit, and churches may directly receive state money from these programs.

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in a case entitled Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. By a 7–2 margin, with two liberal justices (Breyer and Kagan) joining the Court’s four conservative justices, including Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the Court this year, and “swing” Justice Kennedy, the Court held that when a state (Missouri in this case) creates a neutral program for public benefit — in this case, a program that uses scrap tires to provide rubberized safety flooring for playgrounds — the state cannot exclude a church from that program. Continue reading

One or more additional U.S. Supreme Court vacancies could occur during President Trump’s at least one term in office.

This year, deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia was replaced by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump. Justice Gorsuch has already shown himself to be a supporter of religious freedom, as discussed elsewhere in this newsletter.

Currently, the nine-member Court consists of 5 conservative justices and 4 liberal justices. Justice Kennedy is generally conservative, but is often an unpredictable “swing” vote. For example, he voted with the majority in the 2015 Obergefell decision legalizing same sex marriage nationwide. Continue reading

Regardless Of What One Thinks of President Trump, Supporters of Religious Freedom Should Be Pleased By His Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court

As most readers undoubtedly know, this year, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by last year’s death of Justice Scalia. Given Judge Gorsuch’s record, supporters of religious liberty should be pleased by his likely confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Supreme Court. Continue reading