Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.
On Monday, conservatives looked ahead to the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case over Masterpiece’s refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. At the Federalist, John Eastman presented the stakes of the case:
[I]f one’s exposure to the case was limited to the popular media, you might think this case was only about the free-speech rights of wedding-cake makers. To be sure, the question of whether government can force any person to make a certain form of artistic expression is important and part of this case. Indeed, the lead argument made in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop is the owner’s freedom of speech.
But Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is, fundamentally, about religious liberty. The cake maker’s refusal to bake a cake for a ceremony purporting to wed two people with same-sex attraction stems from the cake maker’s religious principles. As in other cases involving photographers and florists, the core conflict here is whether civil society permits those who are compelled by “decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises,” as the Supreme Court said in Obergefell v. Hodges, to exercise those premises.
“If Masterpiece Cakeshop goes the wrong way, the country will only grow more polarized,” the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro predicted. “That’s because religious people across America will be compelled to leave states in which anti-religious anti-discrimination regulations are promulgated, and move instead to red states. Red states will grow redder; blue states will grow bluer. The divide throughout the country will grow.”
At National Review, David French responded to conservative columnist George Will, who has criticized Cakeshop’s defense of its refusal:
There is no slippery slope between Masterpiece Cakeshop and segregated lunch counters. There is no ambiguity as to whether the design of the cake in this case communicated a message. The Supreme Court can, in fact, rule in favor of Jack Phillips without doing the slightest bit of harm to generations of civil-rights case law. In fact, it can explicitly reaffirm its rulings in those cases at the same time that it defends free speech. It’s that simple.
It cannot, however, rule against Phillips without committing an act of judicial violence against both the First Amendment and common sense. Phillips doesn’t discriminate on the basis of any person’s identity. He was asked to engage in an act of artistic expression that communicated a specific cultural, religious, and political message. The Constitution and generations of Supreme Court precedent hold that he has the right to refuse to speak that message — regardless of whether it’s delivered by punditry or by pastry.
In other news:
Conservatives took on economist Larry Summers, who said that the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate in the Senate GOP’s tax bill could kill 10,000 people a year in an appearance on CNBC. From NewsBusters:
The liberal economist calculated his alarming mortality forecast based on studies from the left-wing Urban Institute and the Chan School of Public Health that estimated what percentage of people die as a result of losing their health coverage.
Summers then applied that percentage to the number of people predicted to forego health insurance coverage if the individual mandate is repealed, and arrived at his figure of 10,000 deaths annually.
“Of course, there are many issues in the extrapolation,” Summers admitted in his Post column.
“If we are now going to attribute deaths to freedom from government, we inevitably slide toward tyranny,” wrote Ben Shapiro. “If the government merely forced us to wrap ourselves in bubble plastic, accidental blunt force trauma would dramatically decrease. Perhaps we ought to attribute a certain number of deaths to the government’s failures to do so.”