The state of Oregon dismissed a judge for refusing to promote same-sex “marriage,” and now the U.S. Supreme Court, which already has ruled for a baker forced to make such an endorsement, is to review the situation.
It’s Judge Vance D. Day who was removed by Oregon’s Supreme Court.
“Day was found to manifest bias toward same-sex couples because he declined to perform same-sex marriages for a brief period of time in 2014,” according to his defenders at the Bopp Law Firm. “During that time, Oregon’s traditional marriage statute had just been found unconstitutional and the law was unsettled. Judge Day, a committed Christian, believes that performing same-sex marriages – a voluntary role for a judge – violates his sincerely-held religious beliefs.”
The firm said the same-sex activists in the state court system wouldn’t even consider that he had a Free Exercise defense in the case and “exhibited hostility throughout the disciplinary process because of Judge Day’s religious beliefs.”
Among other things, state judicial officials called him a “religious zealot” akin to ISIS or the Taliban intent on “fomenting disorder within the judicial system.”
The Supreme Court will review the case Friday, and at least four justices needed to put it on the docket.
Under the Masterpiece Cakeshop precedent, the judge’s lawyers argued, the government has a constitutional duty not only to adopt neutral laws “but to enforce those laws in a neutral and impartial way.”
“That did not happen for Judge Day.”
The state court system also refused to look at due process claims after blocking his cross-examination of a key witness, blocking his access to defense evidence, and essentially ordering the judge to “prove his innocence of the charges.”
“The Oregon court found Judge Day guilty of the charges while refusing to consider his constitutional defenses to those very charges,” said James Bopp Jr., lead counsel for Judge Day. “This is akin to deciding someone is guilty of a crime, while refusing to consider the defendant’s bona fide alibi – it is reminiscent of what Judge Kavanaugh is enduring for his confirmation. Due process and the right to assert constitutional defenses are fundamental to a free society.”
Day’s petition to the high court asks where the required judicial neutrality was in his case. Where was the recognition of his constitutional rights? Wasn’t the Oregon action a violation of the Free Speech and Free Exercise protections in the Constitution?
Vance’s petition asks whether only one opinion regarding same-sex marriage now is allowed.
The Family Research Council, on its blog, called out Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for opposing religious bigotry against Muslims but accepting it when it’s against Christians. The column pointed out Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor condemned “bigotry” in a case involving the president’s effort to limit entry to the United States from terror-fomenting regions.
But they weren’t prepared to give Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips the same rights.
“If they believe religious hostility can serve as a basis for relief, as they state in Trump v. Hawaii, they also have to be prepared for to provide that relief for Jack Phillips. Conversely, if a decision can still be valid despite evidence of religious bias (as they argued in Masterpiece), then they should have supported the president’s reasonable national security regulations in Trump v. Hawaii,” FRC said.
“The justices cannot ignore obvious religious bias when it is politically convenient, and turn around and use the same argument to attack other measures they don’t like,” the organization said.
It wasn’t the first time the integrity of Supreme Court justices has been challenged. During the run-up to the court’s 2015 creation of same-sex marriage, Ginsburg and Justice Elena Kagan both publicly performed same-sex weddings while the case was being decided.
WND also reported at the time that Ginsburg revealed her bias when she said it “would not take a large adjustment” for Americans “should the justices say gay marriage is constitutional.”
“How can Ginsburg possibly think that it’s proper judicial conduct for her to speak out on this issue while the marriage case is pending before the court?” wondered National Review columnist Ed Whelan at the time. “If she had any sense of her duty to maintain both the appearance and the reality of impartiality, she would recognize that she is now obligated to recuse herself from the case.
“But of course she won’t.”
Despite a formal court motion for her to recuse, she didn’t.
According to members of a legal team representing Day, his punishment was three years suspension, without pay, for “refusing” to perform same-sex weddings.