Tag Archives: Oregon Appeals Court

US Supreme Court Overturns Oregon Court in Case of ‘Sweet Cakes’ Baker Put Out of Business for Refusing to Make Cake for Gay Wedding

Image: Federalist Papers

Christian bakers, Melissa and Aaron Klein, have won a round in the U.S. Supreme Court. While the nation’s highest court didn’t take the case, it vacated the Oregon Appeals Court’s decision upholding the $135,000 fine and decision against the Kleins for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. The case has been sent back to the Oregon Appeals Court for a rehearing. The Oregon court previously said the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) was correct in fining the couple for failing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The fine and subsequent public bashing by the former BOLI chief, Brad Avakian, forced the couple to close their doors to the public.

The Kleins petitioned the Supreme Court in 2018 to take up their case after the Masterpiece Cake decision upheld a Colorado baker’s choice not to make a same sex wedding cake. In vacating the Oregon court decision and sending it back, the Supreme Court made it clear that the Masterpiece Cake decision changed the game and that the Oregon court should consider the new precedent in its decision on remand.

In their petition, the Kleins asked the Supreme Court to consider three things:

The questions presented are:
1. Whether Oregon violated the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment by compelling the Kleins to design and create a custom wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding ritual, in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
2. Whether the Court should overrule
Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).
ii
3. Whether the Court should reaffirm Smith’s hybrid rights doctrine, applying strict scrutiny to free exercise claims that implicate other fundamental rights, and resolving the circuit split over the doctrine’s precedential status.

Scotusblog

The New York Times reports that the Klein’s were also asking a broader question than that posed in the Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit:

The Oregon case was in one way broader than the one from Colorado, as it asked the justices to overrule an important precedent from 1990, Employment Division v. Smith. In a majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court ruled that neutral laws of general applicability could not be challenged on the ground that they violated the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion.
That decision, arising from a case involving the use of peyote in Native American religious ceremonies, is unpopular among conservative Christians, who say it does not offer adequate protection to religion, and with some justices. In January, the court’s four most conservative members — Justices Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — signaled that they were open to reconsidering the decision.

The New York Times

Based on the fact that the Supreme Court didn’t take the case, it’s clear they don’t want to answer that question just yet – unless the Oregon Appeals Court gives them a reason to.

During the well-publicized ordeal, former BOLI chief Brad Avakian publicly bashed the couple and instituted a gag order on the Kleins to stop defending themselves:

Respondents Aaron Klein and Melissa Klein to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

Avakian’s obvious vendetta against the Christian couple caused even liberal Oregonians to turn against him. Avakian attempted to run for Secretary of State and lost to Republican Dennis Richardson, the first time a Republican had won state-wide office in decades.

The Klein’s were represented by the First Liberty Institute of Plano, Texas, Boyden Gray & Associates, of Washington, DC, and Herb Grey of Beaverton, Oregon. Emails seeking comment by the Kleins and their attorneys haven’t been returned yet, but this post will be updated as soon as they’re received.

No doubt this is a small measure of vindication for the couple whose business and reputations were destroyed by Avakian and the anti-Christian zealots working for the State of Oregon.

Here Are 12 Quick Take-Aways From Portland ‘Man Versus Antifa’ Case in Oregon Appeals Court

What are the stakes in the Mike Strickland versus Antifa case out of Portland, Oregon?

The City of Portland, prosecutors, police and judiciary have, so far, sided with Antifa protesters over Strickland, a videographer whose job it was to chronicle the radical mob which has preyed upon Portlanders for years.

As I explained here:

“Before they chased old men in cars and canceled parades; before Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, Milo Yianoppolous and Charles Murray were silenced by mob violence; before Professional Paid Protesters, Incorporated™ screamed at Senators, overturned cars or set a ‘deplorable’s’ limo on fire; there was Michael Strickland.
Strickland is believed to be Antifa’s ‘victim zero.‘”

The videographer and concealed carry permit holder was covering a Don’t Shoot Portland/Black Lives Matter protest on July 7, 2016.  Strickland was surrounded and beaten by the Antifa mob (read about their conspiracy to do so here) and when they couldn’t bully him out of the protest on public property, the mob came back to finish him off.  I reported  on the clash: 

“Strickland drew his licensed concealed handgun that Antifa knew he had (I know, I asked), a Glock semi automatic pistol. Strickland, showing amazing trigger discipline – never allowing his finger to come close to the trigger – held off his attackers as he backed away from the mob. To be clear,  Strickland was the only person hurt that day. No shots were ever fired.”

One question remains: Is the judiciary  even aware of the violence and vandalism perpetrated by a group that the Department of Homeland Security has designated a domestic terrorist group?

Strickland’s attorney, Robert Barnes, worries that they have no clue, telling VictoriaTaft.com and others on Friday:

“The judges haven’t ‘got’ what’s happening – the Judiciary as a branch. The judicial branch hasn’t figured out – other than Justice Brett Kavanaugh experiencing it personally – the rest of the judicial branch hasn’t deduced what’s happening in the public arena, what’s happening in these protests, what’s happening at these social gatherings, what’s happening in these tactics – these mob tactics –  that are being utilized.
The reason why the press is nervous about the use of the word ‘mob’ is because of how accurate it depicts their tactics and techniques over the past two years. Tactics they experimented a little bit with at Occupy Wall Street but that went sideways because everybody was busy assaulting everybody inside, so they’re going, returning, back to those roots and those are dangerous roots for political expression. It’s going back to the street violence of the 1920’s and 1930’s as a technique and a tactic and the court system doesn’t realize it’s happening.”

After arguments in the case of Oregon V Strickland held Friday in a Oregon Appeals Court tribunal,  Barnes summed up the high stakes involved in the outcome of the case.

Here are 12 quick takes from Barnes:

The appeals court tribunal has taken the case under consideration.The court’s decision could take months to hand down.

Strickland Case at Oregon Appeals Court: If Verdict Allowed to Stand, “Nobody Is Safe” From Antifa

The case of the Portland, Oregon man, forced to pull, but not fire, his legally concealed weapon to ward off a mob of Antifa protesters, has been heard before the Oregon State Court of Appeals.

Photo: Laughing at Liberals

Michael Strickland’s conviction on 21 counts against him, stemming from a July 7, 2016 protest,  was appealed in oral arguments Friday morning before a three judge panel of the Oregon Appeals Court.

Photo: Victoria Taft

Robert Barnes represented Strickland while Susan Howe was the attorney for the state of Oregon.

The case was heard by Douglas Tookey (appointed by Gov. Kitzhaber), Scott Shorr  (appointed by Gov. Kate Brown) and Rex Armstrong (elected to six year term in 2018) in a hearing that lasted less than an hour on Friday morning.

Strickland summed up the proceedings in a news release (see below):

“We raised several assignments of error regarding the admissibility of certain evidence, denial of change venue that was based on defamatory and untrue statements made by Multnomah County deputy district attorney Kate Molina to media, the 1st Amendment restrictions that have been placed on me by the courts, and the fact that I was denied my Constitutional right to face my accusers.”

He added:

“If the courts can do this to a privileged, straight, white, male in Portland, then just imagine what they can do to an underprivileged, transgender, immigrant of color in a rural county.”

Barnes, who practices law in California and Nevada, worked with local co-counsel, and traveled to Oregon to argue the case.

Barnes agreed that Strickland is Antifa’s ‘Victim Zero’ and asserted that judges all over the country are woefully ignorant of the violence committed by this group. He said Strickland’s case has sent a message to Portland and beyond:

“[R]ight now if you’re in the black bloc what do you think? I can harass somebody and get them arrested if they try to defend themselves. And then they want people not to defend themselves so that they feel terrified, so that the feel scared, so that they feel frightened, so that their behavior can be publicly and privately coerced. And that’s the danger. And that’s why this case is bigger than one person. This battle will be just the beginning of a long extended battle. If this can happen to him here it can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it means that nobody is safe. And that’s why this case is so significant.”

“This battle will be just the beginning of a long extended battle. If this can happen to him here it can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it means that nobody is safe. And that’s why this case is so significant.”

Barnes told VictoriaTaft.com,  and others gathered outside the court house, that it’s easy for an appeals court to simply rubber- stamp the trial verdict, but he wanted to remind the judges of a higher legal principle:

“[W]e were trying to force the issue back into the legal terrain to sort of the high plains of what the law is ‘cause that’s what protects everybody and it needs to be equally applied. And it’s forcing them to face that when they don’t always want to face that when the easy political decision for them to make is just to affirm the case and not to overturn the police; not to overturn the prosecutor; not to overturn the judge not to enhance and expand the protection of ordinary individuals against the black bloc of Portland.”

“[T]he easy political decision for them to make is just to affirm the case and not to overturn the police; not to overturn the prosecutor; not to overturn the judge not to enhance and expand the protection of ordinary individuals against the black bloc of Portland.”

After the conclusion of the hearing on third floor of the Oregon Supreme Court building, Strickland told those gathered:

“I think at its heart that it is a first amendment issue. And I hope that the judges realize that a person has a first amendment right to be a public area, filming a public event and that a mob of thugs do not have the right to use force to prevent that person from doing such and that my actions were solely in self defense on this case.”

Strickland issued a press release (below) and a YouTube video about the hearing:

“LaughingAtLiberals
Published on Oct 12, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Oregon Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this morning, October 12th, 2018, regarding the matter of State Of Oregon vs Michael Strickland, appeals case number A165019. I, Michael Strickland, am hopeful that the honorable Judges of the appeals court will recognize the dangerous case law precedent that was set in this case and that they will vacate my conviction.

We raised several assignments of error regarding the admissibility of certain evidence, denial of change venue that was based on defamatory and untrue statements made by Multnomah County deputy district attorney Kate Molina to media, the 1st Amendment restrictions that have been placed on me by the courts, and the fact that I was denied my Constitutional right to face my accusers.

If the courts can do this to a privileged, straight, white, male in Portland, then just imagine what they can do to an underprivileged, transgender, immigrant of color in a rural county.

At its heart, I believe my case is a 1st Amendment matter. As of the verdict of finding me guilty, the courts have essentially ruled that a person does not have a right to be in a public area, filming a public event, in their capacity as a professional news journalist, and that a mob of aggressive thugs have the right to use physical force and intimidation tactics to prevent a journalist from engaging in free press, and if the journalist tries to stop the thugs from assaulting and robbing them, then it’s the journalist who is guilty of crimes, while those who perpetrate and instigate violence become the victims.

This should strike fear into every journalist in the state.

Representing me on the appeal is LA-based Attorney Robert Barnes, who says “Right now if you’re in the black bloc [anarchists, antifa], what do you think? I can harass somebody and get away with it. I can harass somebody and get them arrested if they try to defend themselves. And that’s what they want. They want people to not defend themselves. And then they want people not to defend themselves so that they feel terrified, so that the feel scared, so that they feel frightened, so that their behavior can be publicly and privately coerced. And that’s the danger. And that’s why this case is bigger than one person.”

As we saw in the viral videos from last weekend, mob violence has been legalized. This is due, at least in part, to the ruling in case. Political violence is now encouraged and the mob is emboldened to attack people on the streets because they know they can legally get away with it, and anyone who opposes them or finds themselves in a position where they have to defend themselves against direct physical threats is guilty of crimes.

This puts everyone in Oregon at risk of being robbed, injured or worse. For example, a group of KKK members now have the legal right and lawfully authority to attack people of color in the street. Everyone’s rights to free press, to be safe from mob violence, and to defend one’s self are in the hands of the Honorable Judges of the Court of Appeals”