Colorado baker Jack Phillips was back in court Thursday, seeking to have a state court throw out a lawsuit over a cake he wouldn’t make.
Phillips was vindicated before the Supreme Court in 2018 after he refused to bake a gay wedding cake, he has been sued, and was in court again Thursday, this time over his refusal to bake a gender transition” cake in 2017, The Daily Caller reports.
Autumn Scardina, a transgender lawyer who ordered the cake first took action against Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, by reporting him to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. After the commission ruled in the baker’s favor, Scardina took her case to a district court.
The cake was to be blue on the outside and pink on the inside in celebration of Scardina’s transition.
Jake Warner, a lawyer at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the group defending Phillips since 2012, told the Daily Caller that Scardina’s decision to pursue Phillips even after the Commission ruled in his favor “presents some new legal questions.”
“Can someone re-litigate a CADA claim, or discrimination claim, in district court after losing at the commission?” he asked, rhetorically. “We certainly argue that this attorney [Scardina] doesn’t have that authority because the statute says if you receive an adverse decision from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission you can appeal that decision up to the Colorado Court of Appeals.”
“Instead this attorney started over and filed a new lawsuit in district court and we don’t see any justification for this attorney starting over there,” he concluded.
“I think that oral arguments went well on Thursday, the judge seemed pretty receptive to the arguments that we were making.” Warner says. “The judge certainly seemed to understand the procedural concerns about the case, relitigating the discrimination charge in district court after Jack won at the commission level. We’re very optimistic about that.”
If Scardina prevails, she will receive at least $100,000 from Masterpiece Cake Shop. “We know that the lawyer [Scardina] is seeking more than $100,000,” Warner says. “We don’t know exactly the final number… We know it’s more than $100,000 because that’s what one of the court documents said, but we’re not exactly sure what goes into that calculation.”
The ADF hopes Phillips will be left alone if he is victorious.
“We’re hopeful that it [the case] will end this long running harassment of Jack,” Warner says. “Jack has been in court for 8 years now, dating back to 2012. Jack just wants to get back to his life, serving everyone but declining to express messages that conflict with his beliefs. We’re confident that if this suit goes away that Jack will be able to do that.”