Another day, another scandal involving Colorado’s “civil rights” enforcers.
We have warned for years that Colorado government operates a hate group masquerading as the “Colorado Civil Rights Division” and “Civil Rights Commission.”
None less than the U.S. Supreme Court lambasted the division’s commission — which rules on the agency’s investigations — for exercising “a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs” of Lakewood cake designer Jack Phillips. He’s the cake artist who politely declined to custom-design a wedding cake for a gay couple at a time Colorado law forbade same-sex marriages.
The court’s ruling, written by former center-left Justice Anthony Kennedy, minced no words in explaining how the commission violated the First Amendment to force an agenda of illegal state hostility.
The Supreme Court could not have written a more scathing indictment against the Ku Klux Klan or a neo-Nazi skinhead group because those organizations do not wield state authority.
For a state agency to blatantly discriminate on a basis of religion violates the soul of a country with a Bill of Rights that begins with religious liberty.
The commission “disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust,” the Supreme Court ruled.
As explained by the court, the First Amendment’s Free Exercise clause requires “neutrality” by the state on all matters of religion. Imagine if the “Civil Rights” Commission characterized Islamic or Jewish beliefs as “despicable.” We would likely, and rightly, see protests in the street.
One month after the ruling, the commission taunted the Supreme Court by attacking Phillips with a new charge for declining a cake design to celebrate a sex change.
Given the hate agency’s notorious past performance, it is no surprise to read another scathing censure — this one from the Colorado Office of the State Auditor.
It turns out the “Civil Rights” Commission operates in darkness — as one might expect from a seedy hate group. In hiding its actions, the commission violates state law.
As the report explains, “The commission does not operate in a manner that allows for transparency or accountability. It could not provide evidence in meeting minutes or audio recordings that it discussed the cases, applied rules and policies to the reviews, and how it decided the disposition of any of the 218 cases it reviewed in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018. Further, the commission votes in executive session, in violation of the Colorado Sunshine Law,” (emphasis ours).
Furthermore, the division does not maintain accessible records “to support its decision-making.”
By operating in secrecy, the commission could abuse other individuals — as it did Phillips — without public scrutiny. The Klan can operate in a closed-off basement; state government cannot.
The investigation found the division did not complete hundreds of investigations within the timeframe “required by statute.” This means accusers and the accused do not receive timely justice. The division initiated time extensions the law does not allow. Only “complainants” and “respondent parties” can do that, the audit report explains.
“When you don’t have open discussions and meetings, you’re not being transparent to the people,” said State Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, who chairs the Legislative Audit Committee.
For an agency notorious for abuse, in the business of enforcing “civil rights,” a hidden process threatens the rights of individuals throughout Colorado. Anyone could be the next Jack Phillips, only the abuse could be hidden.
Todd and other legislators must take this seriously. The Civil Rights Division and its commission do not learn — even giving a middle finger to the Supreme Court and the honorable Justice Kennedy.
The Civil Rights Division’s corrupt culture cannot be fixed. Dismantle this embarrassing and dangerous bureaucracy and start over with something else.
In the meantime, give thanks for a system of checks and balances — especially within a government that operates a hate group.
The Gazette Editorial Board