Long-suffering cake artist Jack Phillips appeared before the Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday defending his right to free speech.

The court heard oral arguments over whether Phillips can be compelled by the state of Colorado to bake a custom cake – pink on the inside and blue on the outside – to celebrate and symbolize a “gender transition” from male to female.

Jack has been in court for over a decade seeking to have his First Amendment rights upheld. This is his third case – also known as Masterpiece III.

Masterpiece I stemmed from Phillips’ refusal to create a custom-designed cake for a same-sex wedding. He won the case at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, when seven justices ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated Phillips’ right to freely exercise his religion.

On the same day the Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ first case, Autumn Scardina – a “transgender” activist lawyer – called Phillips’ shop requesting that he create the custom pink-and-blue cake to celebrate his “gender transition.” Phillips politely declined because he cannot express those messages “for anyone.”

When Jack declined to make the “transgender cake,” Scardina filed a complaint against Jack with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission – the same group that had previously compared Jack’s Christian beliefs to those of slaveowners and Nazis. The case, Masterpiece II, was later dropped after Jack countersued the Commission for harassing him.

To be clear, Scardina is not a person acting in good faith. He’s not a part of a persecuted minority group, seeking to have his rights upheld.

Scardina has also called Jack’s shop, calling him a hypocrite and bigot, and requesting he create a custom cake depicting Satan smoking a joint. Scardina has admitted to requesting these cakes to “test” Jack and to “correct the errors of [his] thinking.”

Scardina is on a mission – to punish and persecute Jack, to run him out of businesses, and to ruin his life and his livelihood in any way he can.

Masterpiece III is Scardina’s civil lawsuit against Jack; he lost at both the trial court level, and at the Colorado Court of Appeals which ruled 3-0 against Jack on January 26, 2023.

This led to his appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court, which is not expected to issue a ruling for months.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jake Warner ably represented Phillips before the court on Tuesday. ADF is representing Phillips pro bono.

Phillips’ attorneys are attempting to get the Colorado Supreme Court to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2023 ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis to Jack’s case.

In 303 Creative, our nation’s highest court held that the First Amendment prohibits the state of Colorado from compelling artistic speech in violation of one’s deeply held beliefs.

The court ruled: “The First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.”

It explained that “the First Amendment’s protections belong to all, not just to speakers whose motives the government finds worthy.”

Whether the Colorado Supreme Court agrees that custom-designed cakes constitute the same kind of speech that the U.S. Supreme Court protected in 303 Creative remains to be seen.

All seven justices on the Colorado Supreme Court were appointed by Democrat governors. At various times throughout oral arguments, the justices used female pronouns to refer to Scardina, who is biologically male.

If the court rules against Jack, he will most likely need to seek relief – once again – from the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Free speech is for everyone,” Warner said in a statement. “As the U.S. Supreme Court held in 303 Creative, the government cannot force artists to express messages they don’t believe.” He added,

In this case, an attorney demanded that Jack create a custom cake that would celebrate and symbolize a transition from male to female. Because that cake admittedly expresses a message, and because Jack cannot express that message for anyone, the government cannot punish Jack for declining to express it. The First Amendment protects that decision.

We are urging the court to apply 303 Creative to reverse the appeals court’s decision punishing Jack.

Scardina’s attorneys argued before the Colorado Supreme Court that Jack would not create the custom-designed cake for Scardina because of his transgender identity. But Jack has made clear that he will bake custom cakes for anyone. He simply will not create custom cakes that express messages that he disagrees with.

“Thank God [Alliance Defending Freedom] is able to defend Jack Phillips once again,” Ryan T. Anderson, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said in a post on X.

“But the process is part of the punishment here. Jack has been in courts for over a decade all because an activist and a state commission want to make him bend the knee.”

Kristen Waggoner, President and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, posted about the arguments on X.

“Jack is a business owner. He’s an artist. A father. A grandfather. And Jack is a Christian who desires protection from being coerced to express messages he doesn’t believe. Jack’s story could be any of ours,” Waggoner wrote.

“It’s time for the harassment and cruelty against Jack to stop. I pray that his long and courageous stand for freedom – a stand he’s taking for you and me – will end in justice.”

In concluding his argument before the court, ADF attorney Warner said,

For over a decade, in lawsuit after lawsuit, Phillips has advocated for the right of every American to express what they believe without fear of government punishment. This freedom protects the LGBT artist as much as the Christian. It protects us all. To preserve this freedom, the harassment must stop. This court should reverse.

After oral arguments ended, Warner held a press conference alongside Jack outside the Colorado Supreme Court, which you can watch below:

It is time – past time – for Jack to be able to freely conduct business in accordance with his faith. Please pray for Jack and consider the various ways you can support him below

To support Jack, you can visit his shop in Lakewood, CO, or visit his online store. Trust me, his brownies are delicious. You can also support Jack with a financial gift.

Additionally, you can purchase a copy of Jack’s book, The Cost of My Faith: How a Decision in My Cake Shop Took Me to the Supreme Court.

Jack Phillips has been interviewed on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly to discuss his legal fight, and how his Christian faith has sustained him. You can listen to “Loving Others While Standing by My Beliefs.”

The case is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Scardina.

Related articles and resources:

Stop Harassing and Targeting Jack Phillips, the Christian Baker Who Has Been Attacked for More than a Decade

Cakebaker Jack Phillips Asks Colorado Supreme Court to End ‘Crusade’ Against Him

Christian Cakebaker Jack Phillips Appeals ‘Transgender Cake’ Case to Colorado Supreme Court

Not Again! Colorado Court Rules Against Jack Phillips in a ‘Transgender’ Cake Case

Jack Phillips Back in Court to Win Protections for Free Speech in Transgender Cake Case

Jack Phillips Appeals Bad Decision in Transgender Cake Case

Once Again, a Colorado Court Finds Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop Committed ‘Discrimination’

An Interview with Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop – Christian, Baker, Author

Photo from Alliance Defending Freedom.