Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Interesting explanation of what’s wrong with Commerce Clause case-law precedent, written in a way that even I can understand the problem.
TL;dr version: the basic idea was sound but it’s been stretched out of shape to suit passing fads.
And that’s what’s wrong with this ruling by the appeals court in an Oregon baker case. The court assumed the stretched-to-fit Commerce Clause interpretation was correct, so the anti-discrimination law protecting gays was valid, and therefore the baker was subject to that general law. Having made the fatal assumption, the court was able to conclude the baker was not targeted for his religious beliefs. Yes, but if the underlying assumption is wrong, then the baker’s First Amendment religious freedom should trump the federal government’s interest in regulating people who produce goods that could conceivably travel in interstate commerce.
I know, it’s complicated. We all prefer simple soundbites. But this is worth the effort to understand. And Williamson does a good job helping with that.
The greatest achievement of the Establishment was convincing everyone that government is so complex, only government people could do it.