WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer. This marked the first major religious liberty case since Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Court. Family Research Council’s (FRC) Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, Travis Weber, Esq., attended the oral arguments at the Court. The case will be decided later this year, likely in June.
On the oral arguments, Weber commented:
“After hearing the oral arguments, I am hopeful, with the recent addition of Justice Gorsuch, the Court will rule on the side of religious liberty, as clearly protected by the Constitution. Justice Gorsuch’s presence will provide a welcome originalist voice in not just the Trinity Lutheran case but also plenty of pivotal cases in the decades to come. The Court's decision in Trinity Lutheran will significantly affect the outcome in other religious liberty cases in this sitting of the Court, and Justice Gorsuch’s impact will certainly be felt in all these cases.
“The justices are also considering whether to accept another important religious liberty case where Justice Gorsuch’s impact will be significant. In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Court will decide whether baker Jack Phillips’ First Amendment free speech and free exercise rights protect him from being forced to create a cake for a same-sex wedding in violation of his beliefs. Even if the Court doesn't take up this case, we know the issue isn't going away. There are several small business owners who have already been penalized by different states for refusing to use their talents to support same-sex weddings. Justice Gorsuch will be poised to consider this issue, and we're glad he has a strong record of protecting religious liberty. When that time comes, we are grateful that we will have a strong originalist in Justice Gorsuch on the bench. I look forward to the Court’s decision in the Trinity Lutheran case and to seeing how Justice Gorsuch’s judicial career develops on the Court,” Weber concluded.
To review FRC’s amicus brief in the Trinity Lutheran case, please see: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF16D46.pdf