Role of United States Constitution
One of the themes we’ve examined in this course is the role of the U.S. Constitution, and how it is interpreted by the courts, on American culture and society. Rights we take for granted, such as where we can eat, where we can live, and who we can marry were defined by judicial decisions interpreting this document.
One such case involved something as simple as buying a wedding cake. In 2012 a gay couple walked into a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado and tried to order a special cake to celebrate their marriage. The owner of the bakery, a devout Christian, refused to create the cake on the grounds such an act would violate his religious beliefs. He offered any items already made, but refused to create a cake specifically designed to celebrate the couples’ marriage.
The gay couple sued the baker, and the case eventually wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is titled Masterpiece Bakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (although it was the gay couple, David Mullins and Charles Craig, who sued for procedural reasons the defendant in the case is the Colorado Civil Rights Commission).
This final installment consists of five short essays, each worth 20 points. The goal of this exercise is to identify the Constitutional arguments and principles we examined throughout this session, and not to necessarily argue which side is “right.”
A PowerPoint presentation file has been posted in the Files section of Canvas, under “Week 8_The Supreme Court – Final Installment” as a source and guide for this assignment. Other documents have been included as well, including a transcript of the actual oral argument for this case before the Supreme Court. These other documents have been provided only if you wish to research this case further and are not necessary for this assignment (but feel free to refer to them in your responses below if you wish).
Question One (20 points)
Using the information discussed during class and in the textbook regarding the American court system and administrative law, explain the process of how this case wound its way from the Civil Rights Commission, to the Colorado Court of Appeals, and finally to the United States Supreme Court.
Question Two (20 points)
Two fundamental constitutional rights found in the Bill of Rights form the basis of the arguments made by Masterpiece Cakeshop. Identify one of these rights, and discuss the arguments for and against whether this right was violated.
Question Three (20 points)
In Question 2 you were asked to identify one of the rights found in the Bill of Rights that serve as the basis for the arguments made by Masterpiece Cakeshop. For Question 3, identify the other right and discuss the arguments for and against whether this right was violated.
Question Four (20 points)
Discuss the claims made by the plaintiffs, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. What was the basis of their claims? While these claims were made under state law, what federal law discussed in class would be analogous to these claims?
Question Five (20 points)
What was the basis for the decision by the U. S. Supreme Court? Did it address the main issues of the case?
Submit a Word document, with each essay starting on a new page and clearly labeled as Question 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. Depending on the question, your essay responses may be less than 1 page or up to 2 pages, double-spaced. As in all DeVry courses, APA style formatting should be used, and sources properly cited.”
Role of United States Constitution
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