by Jorge Gomez • 3 min read
On Tuesday, we argued Aaron and Melissa Klein’s case at the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Vice President of Litigation & Senior Counsel David Hacker was present at the argument. Here’s a quick note from him on how it went:
This week, I had the opportunity to be in the courtroom for the argument in our Sweet Cakes by Melissa case. Overall, I think the argument went very well and our volunteer attorneys did a tremendous job before the judges.
Our team, led by Boyden Gray PLLC lawyer James Conde and local Oregon attorney Herb Grey, argued that the Oregon Court of Appeals should put an end to this case after 10 years of litigation—litigation that put the Kleins out of business.
This is the third time the Court has reviewed this case. Twice before, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals’ decision and asked it to reconsider the case in light of two opinions protecting the First Amendment rights of creative artists like the Kleins.
The Court of Appeals came to the argument prepared to grapple with how the Supreme Court’s decision last June in 303 Creative v. Elenis affects the Kleins’ case, even issuing a list of hypothetical questions before the argument that we would be expected to answer. In 303 Creative, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado could not compel a Christian wedding website designer to create a website for wedding ceremonies that conflicted with her religious beliefs. The judges in our case asked a variety of questions that teased out the various implications of this First Amendment ruling and how it affects both artists like the Kleins and other businesses.
We made the case that Court of Appeals should rule in the Kleins favor and protect their First Amendment right to engage in creative art through custom wedding cakes that align with their religious beliefs.
In case you missed it, watch our recent First Liberty Live! episode. Attorney Stephanie Taub explains why this week’s court date was such a huge opportunity for the Christian bakers. You’ll also be able to watch the full argument.
Please keep praying, especially for the judges who heard the case. Pray for their wisdom and discernment as they write their decision.
There’s a lot at stake with the Sweet Cakes case. A win could finally close this case and put an end to the state’s hostility. This would mean the world to the Kleins and their five children. It wasn’t just that the state’s punished, bankrupted and forced them to close their business. For years they’ve endured a wave of hate, vile comments and even death threats. Why? All because they wanted to operate their bakery consistent with their Christian faith.
Plus, winning this case could have a big impact on religious freedom more broadly. It could help countless Americans in the marketplace who face hostile treatment and the real threat of losing their business or their livelihood because of their beliefs.