Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Abigail Bermudez
Lawmakers Defend Christian Baker in Gay Wedding Case

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, found himself in legal trouble when he declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Phillips claims he has served many same-sex couples since the very beginning of his business in 1993. But when two men came into his shop asking for a custom wedding cake, he refused. According to the article, “Jack offered to make the couple any other type of baked good or sell them a pre-made cake, but because of his faith, he could not design a cake promoting a same-sex wedding ceremony.” Phillips stated, “For me, it’s never about the person, it’s only about the event, I serve everyone, but I cannot create custom designs for events or messages that conflict with my conscience.”

The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and a lawsuit ensued. An administrative judge first ruled against the bakery, but in June of 2017, the Supreme Court granted the ADF’s request to take up Phillips’ case. “Eighty-six members of Congress have filed an amicus brief in support of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in the upcoming Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.”

Jack Phillips is a perfect example of an individual making an effort to execute and preserve their natural born rights. All American citizens have a right to a trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, among a plethora of others; this court case addresses issues in relation to each of those rights. This entire incident sheds light on the lack of clear boundaries in regards to the extent of our rights in situations like the one Phillips faced. Our current society has a completely different view of morals and religion than did that of our Founding Fathers, so new questions arise with new issues. Can a business owner refuse service on the basis of contrary beliefs and religion? Does the government rightly have the power to tell you what you must say and what you must do, and punish you if you don’t? How do we define morals and defend one’s conscience?

I am a devout Christ follower, so the freedom of religion is a right that I hold most valuable. Phillips’ strength in standing up for his beliefs is admirable; he looked for a means to compromise and still offered some sort of service to the couple, rather than outright refusing any kind at all. He continued to fight his case. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the judicial branch, and the most representative of the people. Like most Supreme Court cases, this will be a precedent for any other similar cases in the future.

If you were a criminal defendant, would you rather be tried under the adversary system or the inquisitorial system of justice? Why?

I would rather be tried under the adversarial system. This system provides the most fair, and accurate ruling because there is more than just one person to investigate the case and make the decision. “In a criminal case, where an individual’s life, liberty, or property is at stake, the adversary system assumes that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.”

However, the inquisitorial system can be a good system as well. It uses specially trained judges to act as both investigator and decision maker. It should also be noted that “…often there is a great disparity in resources and ability between the two sides,” so the adversarial system isn’t wholly equal.

Overall, the adversarial system still trumps the inquisitorial system. There are procedural guarantees to ensure that the “fight” is fair, so to speak. The lawyer acts as your advocate and rather than defend your innocence to a judge/jury that already believes in your guilt, they are doing so to one that is impartial. This system also ensures that there must be solid evidence that proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” before a decision can be made.

Starbucks Robbery Suspect May Sue ‘Good Samaritan’ Who Subdued Him

Mark Flores attempted to rob a Starbucks in California, but was interrupted by the Good Samaritan, Cregg Jerri. Flores threatened the cashier with a knife and a false gun while demanding money. Jerri approached the would-be-robber from behind and bashed him over the head with a chair. In that moment the two hit the ground and struggled to win control of the knife. Jerri was stabbed in the neck by Flores, but once he won the knife he commenced to stab Flores several times. The entire incident was recorded and the footage went viral. As soon as Flores’ mother learned of the events, she threatened that her son would sue Jerri for using “excessive force.”

The Founding Fathers took in several considerations when designing the government, the largest one being the division and balance of powers. They divided the government into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judiciary. The judiciary branch was designed to be an adversarial system and was divided in two parts; the state courts and the Supreme Court. State courts decided conflicts involving state governments and the Supreme Court decided on much larger cases. If Mark Flores were to actually press charges, his cases would first go to the state court. He might hire a prosecuting attorney who would argue against the defendant, an example of an adversarial system.

Helping people is something that I will always want to make an effort to do. So, knowing that I could be sued for defending someone that was in danger is more than disappointing.  Jerri saw a woman in a potentially life threatening situation and decided to act, putting his own life in danger by doing so. I could only hope that I would ever have the courage to do that, but knowing that a lawsuit might be hanging over my head if I did would make it all the more difficult.


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