The Supreme Court handed down a very dissatisfying ruling in the Masterpiece case on Monday, holding in a 7-2 opinion that: “[t]he Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s actions in assessing a cakeshop owner’s reasons for declining to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration violated the free exercise clause.” This ruling, which was narrow in scope, failed to decide the fundamental issue in the case, which had more to do with compelled speech than free exercise. Of course, we libertarians understand that the real fundamental issue here is property rights, and neither compelled speech nor free exercise.


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Show Notes:

SCOTUSblog: Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Opinion analysis: Court rules (narrowly) for baker in same-sex-wedding-cake case [Updated]

The SCOTUS Decision

Masterpiece’s Reply Brief

Symposium: Anti-discrimination laws do not compel commercial-merchant speech (an opposing view)

By Patrick MacFarlane

Patrick MacFarlane is a Wisconsin attorney in private practice. He is the host of the Liberty Weekly Podcast at, where he covers libertarian legal theory, noninterventionist foreign policy, Austrian economics, history, and other libertarian topics. His is a regular contributor at the Libertarian Institute at His work also appears on in the viewpoints section. He may be reached at

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