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Jim Campbell, senior counsel with the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, represents Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop. He is also director of ADF's Center for Cultural Engagement and Scholarship.
Most of us understand the importance of fairness early in life. Whether it’s an umpire’s call in little league or a teacher’s grading in elementary school, we all intuitively know that fairness is a big deal.
Rights - Hands - Courts - Government - Tribunals
But fairness perhaps is no more important than when our rights are in the hands of courts or other government tribunals. It’s there that we expect not only actual fairness but the appearance of fairness.
That seems reasonable enough. Now imagine that your freedom was on the line. You spent decades building your career, and the government threatens to take it away because of how you practice your faith.
Arguments - Case - Court - Court - Land
You’re confident in your arguments, but your case is placed before a court that the highest court in the land just said was hostile to your beliefs. You wouldn’t feel very good about your chances, would you? The assurance of fairness would be missing. The legitimacy of the whole process is called into question.
“No worries,” the court tells you, “we have some new judges since we punished you a few years ago.”
Judges - Appeal - Case - Well - Sign
That’s supposed to make you feel better, but you dig a little deeper and find that the current judges opposed your appeal in the earlier case. “Well, that’s not a good sign,” you think, but you try to stay optimistic.
Then you learn that the old and new judges alike were selected by the same person. And his selection pool included many judges with ties to an advocacy group that firmly opposed you in your first case. Not feeling too hopeful at this point, huh?
If all this weren’t bad enough, you finally learn that one of the current judges...
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