GW To Hold Supreme Court Preview

Supreme CourtI will be participating in a panel today on the Supreme Court’s October Term 2017 with a stellar panel of experts at George Washington University.  This has the makings of a historic term with issues ranging from President Trump’s travel ban to gerrymandering to religious objections to providing services for same-sex weddings. The panel will speak about possible new cases and possible outcomes in existing cases with many leading Supreme Court journalists and lawyers in attendance.

The panel will consist of:

Gregory G. Garre, JD ’91, Partner and Global Chair, Supreme Court & Appellate Practice, Latham & Watkins LLP; former Solicitor General of the United States

Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Jeffrey Rosen, Professor, GW Law; President and CEO, National Constitution Center

Jonathan Turley, J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law, GW Law

Alan B. Morrison, Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law, GW Law (Moderator)

There will be a continental breakfast held at 8:30 am.

Among the cases to be discussed will be

Trump v. Hawaii; Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project
Is the Trump administration’s executive order limiting citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States a violation of the applicable statutes and/or the Establishment Clause?Gill v. Whitford 
Are there constitutionally enforceable limits on partisan gerrymandering in legislative redistricting?

Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute 
What are the statutory limits on states’ ability to “purge” voter rolls based on the failure to vote for several years?

Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis; Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris; National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA
Are agreements to resolve disputes through mandatory employee arbitration unenforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act as applied to employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act?

Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission 
Did Colorado’s public accommodations law violate the religious rights of a baker who refused to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple?

You can follow the event on GW Law’s Facebook and Twitter or join the conversation using hashtag #GWSCOTUS17.

A livestream will be available via the GW Law Facebook page at

Media Information

Media interested in attending should register here. If you have questions, please contact Kara Tershel at



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

9:00am – 10:30am


The George Washington University Law School
The Jacob Burns Moot Court Room (Lerner Hall, Room 101)
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052

27 thoughts on “GW To Hold Supreme Court Preview”

  1. The Justices of the Supreme Court should have been impeached and convicted long ago for subversion, usurpation, corruption, dereliction, treason et al.

    Corrupt commingling of the definitions of the words “state” and “federal” to fabricate constitutionality for the irrefutably unconstitutional ACA “exchanges” by Chief Justice Roberts is the ultimate betrayal and assassination of the very Constitution by those sworn to uphold it.

    “Courts must void acts contrary to the MANIFEST TENOR of the Constitution lest limits on the Constitution are abandoned and dictatorship prevails”

    To wit,

    Alexander Hamilton

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

  2. I would appreciate taking in a stream of the event as well.As an aside,the Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear arguments in two cases next month that pit two Charter of Rights principles against each other;the freedom from sexual orientation discrimination and the right of religious expression:see Trinity Western University v Law Society of British Columbia and TCU v Law Society of Upper Canada.The issue is whether a religion-based mandatory student undertaking to forego all but heterosexual marital sex is a legitimate basis to refuse accreditation of a law school which would be otherwise qualified.The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled “yes” saying that it is an unreasonable burden on the LGBQT community.The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that it is not.

  3. Were the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop obligated only to tolerate views with which he disagrees, rather than to celebrate views with which he disagrees, then one of the questions in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission might be: What is the difference between toleration versus accommodation? Since the owner creates cakes that celebrate weddings, Colorado’s requirement to accommodate same-sex couples becomes a requirement that Masterpiece Cakeshop should celebrate same-sex marriage, rather than merely tolerating same-sex marriage.

    In a hypothetical case involving a hotel refusing to rent a honeymoon suite to a same-sex couple, the requirement to accommodate same-sex couples would not become a requirement to celebrate same-sex marriage; because the hotel would also be required to refrain from invading the privacy of its guests.

    No doubt there are other issues in the case. But people ought not to be obligated to celebrate views with which they disagree. They should only be obligated to tolerate those views.

    1. I don’t understand why baking a cake constitutes celebrating the marriage. It seems to me that the celebrating is done by the bride, groom, and guests.

      1. Jay S, the owner of the cake shop, Jack Phillips decorates the cakes with messages that celebrate marriage. He claims a right to free expression as an artist. He also holds religious views that prevent him from decorating cakes with messages that celebrate same-sex marriage.

          1. If his religion prevents him from doing his job–the complete job, which is to serve his customers, he should get out of the cake business. If an Orthodox Jew, for example, feels it’s against his religion to prepare and serve food that’s not kosher, he should not be working in the non-kosher food prep business. If a Muslim feels it’s against his religion to serve alcohol, he should not be a bartender. If a Jehovah’s Witness thinks it’s against her religionl to give people blood transfusions, she should not be a phlebotomist. If a devout Catholic feels it’s against her religion to aid in abortions she should not be working in a facility that provides them. If a person cannot bring himself to do even the tiniest part of the job he’s hired to do or a busness he is running that deals with the public, he shouldn’t be employed in or run such a business. If you can’t do the job, or any part of a job because of your religion or any other reason–find a different job or business. IMO, everyone who applies for a job or a business licence should be required to say upfront that there is no reason he or she can”t do the job or run the business–every aspect of it. All applicants should be required ro sign an affidavit that if they suddenly become religious and can no longer do anynpart of the job, they must be willing to leave the job and never sue the employer. Just because you’re religious doesn’t give you the right to hold a job or run a business that you can’t do 100%. This is not rocket science.

            1. Louise, the provision of goods and services to the public is not the issue in this case. The issues are expressive speech and expressive conduct. The state cannot compel orthodoxy in speech and expression.

              When the state grants legal recognition to same-sex marriage, the state protects same-sex couples from religious beliefs that oppose it. Those religious beliefs cannot be granted the force of law. Conversely, the state cannot grant the force of law to any belief–religious or secular–that celebrates same-sex marriage.

              If Colorado can compel Jack Phillips to engage in expressive speech and expressive conduct to which his religious beliefs are opposed, then Colorado could compel the clergy to officiate at marriage ceremonies to which their religious beliefs are opposed.

              It’s not about the cake, Louise.

      2. Apparently if he were a taxi driver, could he refuse to drive s same sex couple to or from the ceremony and if he were a doorman, could he refuse to open a door for a same sex couple entering a building to get married? If he were a janitor could he refuse to clean up after a same sex wedding ceremony? If he were a housekeeper in a hotel, could he refusemto cleanna room or change the sheets on a bed where a same sex couple had been? If he were a fireman could he refuse to put out a fire in a place where a same sex weddig was taking place? How far should refusing to do a job because of one’s religion go?

        1. Louise, driving a cab and opening doors are not expressive speech nor expressive conduct that celebrates the marriage of the newlywed couple. The same would hold for hotels renting honeymoon suites to newlywed couples. In those cases the provision of goods and services to the public truly would be the issue.

          BTW, Louise, the sate cannot compel anyone to do any job for you or for me, or for anyone else. And that fact has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It has to do with the 13th Amendment prohibition against involuntary servitude without due process of law.

        2. Louise – evidently, if you are a Muslim taxi driver you can refuse to pick up passengers from the airport who have purchased duty-free booze and have it on them.

  4. (music)
    Patty cake, Patty cake…Baker’s man.
    Make me a cake as fast as you can.
    Pit it and pat it and mark it with a tee.
    Put it in the oven for Harold and me.
    If we are bent you must not care.
    This is America and you must share.

    1. Zwarte Piet, I am not opposed to same sex marriage. I am opposed only to compulsory celebration. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission used the public accommodation laws to compel the owner of the cake-shop to design and create a cake to celebrate the marriage of a same-sex couple. No government should mandate speech nor artistic expression.

      1. They aren’t mandating speech or artistic expression, they are mandating that a job be done completely or a business serve all of the public. If a person thinks he can’t do that he should get out of that job or business. What would you do if you owned a business and hired someone to do a job, then he says, after he’s hired, that he can’t do part of it because of’his religion? Would you be mandating speech or artistic expression if you fired him? Should you be required to keep him on even of he can’t or won’t do the job he was hired to do? When you hire someone to do any job are you mandating speech or artistic expression? You could never run a busuness that way. You’d be bankrupt in a week.

        1. Louise, the self-employed owner of the cake-shop, Jack Phillips, did not accept the job that the same-sex couple offered him. Thus the issue in the case is NOT the right of employers to fire employees for poor job performance; but rather the right of a businessman to refuse to celebrate expressive speech and expressive conduct contrary to his religious beliefs.

          But supposing otherwise, Louise, would you really want The State of Colorado supervising Jack Phillips’ job performance for reasons unrelated to public health?

          1. Louise, I forgot to mention that the cake-shop makes birthday cakes and other holiday cakes for gays and lesbians. It’s only wedding cakes and wedding-anniversary cakes that the owner declines to make for same-sex couples.

            Conversely, the cake-shop refuses to make cakes for anyone celebrating Halloween. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has not yet ordered Jack Phillips to make Halloween cakes for Wiccans, Louise, whether or not those Wiccans are heterosexual or even married at all.

            There’s no information available on the question of dessert cakes offered by Masterpiece Cakeshop. But I suspect that celebratory, special-occasion cakes are the only kind Jack Phillips makes.

          2. States and the Federal government already govern business practices when it comes to discrimination over sex and race. Would you say, “Would you really want the State of Colorado supervising anyone’s job performance for reasons unrelated to public health?” When it comes to discrminating against black people? What do you think would happen of a self employed baker refused to provide cakes for black people or Muslims, let’s say, because he interprets his religion as saying he must not? That would have nothing to do with public health, either. How about a Muslim shop owner who refuses to serve women? A Muslim taxi driver who refuses to drive women? How about a Catholic baker who refuses to provide a wedding cake ro straight couples where one has been married and divorced? Should the state never get involved in any of these situations because it would interfere with a person’s artistic expression but have no bearing on public health? None of these situations have anything to do with public health. Even when a Jehovah’s Witness nurse refuses to give a blood transfusion it doesn’t affect public health as long as there is another nurse to do the job, but it does create disruption in the delivery of health care. It’s similar with a pharmacist who won’t provide birth control materials or fill a prescription for birth control pills where other pharmacists are available, perhaps a ross town? Is there no line to be drawn when it comes to being in business to serve the public but health concerns?

            1. Louise, you have yet to post an objection that is relevant to the issues in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. I’m beginning to suspect either of two things: you don’t understand the concept of relevance or you just don’t care about relevance.

              You were the one who raised the irrelevant issue of job performance in the context of public accommodation laws. Now you’re demanding to know what public health has to do with discrimination against blacks, women, muslims etc. Now hear this Louise: Public health has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of discrimination. However, public health might have something to do with erstwhile irrelevant issue of job performance that you raised. And that is the precisely point that you were supposed to get, Louise.

              Can you follow your own line of reasoning, Louise?

              1. FTR, Louise, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission does not conduct public health inspections of private enterprises in any of the food-vending businesses. The State of Colorado does. Read more carefully.

                Likewise, when The Colorado Civil Rights Commission finds evidence of discrimination against blacks, women, Muslims et al., their findings have nothing whatsoever to do with the job performance of the employees at the businesses who had been found to be discriminating against blacks, women, Muslims et al. BTW, neither The State of Colorado nor The Colorado Civil Rights Commission exercise the power to hire and fire the employees of private enterprises.

                Does this help you with the concept of relevance, Louise?

                1. Can The Colorado Civil Rights Commission compel Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. to accommodate all of the public regardless of race, sex, religion etc? Yes. Provided that the public accommodation laws at issue do not compel the celebration of expressive speech and expressive conduct contrary to the religious views of the self-employed owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips.

                  Accordingly, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission does not compel Jack Phillips to design and create Halloween cakes for anyone at all, including Wiccans. Meanwhile, Jack Phillips has no religious objection to designing and creating birthday cakes and other holiday cakes for gays and lesbians.

                  Can you see the issues now, Louise? If so, can you further see the irrelevance of the objections that you have raised thus far?

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