Are these cases legally equivalent?

There were three recent court cases that tested the extent to which commercial establishments could refuse to serve certain customers because of their religious beliefs. The cases involved florists, bakers, and photographers who declined to provide their services to the weddings of same-sex couples because they disapproved of such marriages on religious grounds. All these cases are at various stages of litigation, though so far the rulings have tended to go against the businesses.
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Holder curbs federal role in civil asset forfeitures

In the waning days of his tenure in office, Attorney General Eric Holder has taken some actions that are praiseworthy. First he has criticized the trigger-happy behavior of many police departments, including the Cleveland one. Then he said that his office will defend the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the upcoming case before the US Supreme Court.
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Same-sex marriage showdown coming in the Supreme Court

After keeping observers guessing for a long time as to whether they will take on the issue of same-sex marriage during this term, the US Supreme Court in a notice yesterday finally decided to do so. There were many cases that had been appealed to them and what I found interesting was that they accepted for review the four cases that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided. This was the only Appeals Court circuit that back in November upheld bans on same-sex marriage and I strongly criticized its weird reasoning.
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Tabloid heaven: A story of sex, money, politics, famous people, and corruption

Yesterday I wrote about the case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, a man well connected politically and socially, getting to agree to a sweetheart plea deal even though the crime that was alleged against him, (running what seemed like a sex slave ring that included underage girls to serve his influential set of friends) is a horrible crime. He was sentenced to just 18 months in prison (he was released after 13 months) and even then he was only required to report to the prison each night, providing us with yet another glaring example of our two-tiered justice system which throws the book at poor people for minor offenses but coddles the wealthy even when they commit major ones. He was also required to pay the legal costs and an undisclosed sum (reportedly around $150,000) to each of the defendants.
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Sex, royalty, and unequal justice

British newspapers are awash with the type of scandal that they revel in, a sex scandal involving the royal family. At issue is whether Prince Andrew, one of the many unemployed leeches in that corrupt and useless monarchy, and others had sex with underage girls that were provided for them by American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein himself seems to be a real creep who had an obsession with underage girls, threw lavish parties where he supplied them to his friends, and served some time in prison for it.
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Should blackmail be illegal?

We know that blackmail, the attempt to extort money from someone by threatening to reveal some secret about them if they don’t cough up, is illegal. It is viewed as a particularly despicable crime that usually preys on the weak and defenseless. It seems self-evident that blackmail is wrong and should be punishable by law. But this website brought to my attention something that I had not considered before and that is that it is not clear why blackmail should be illegal at all.
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Do vanity license plates represent the view of the driver or the state?

The license plates on cars are issued by the state. But states have found that they can generate extra revenue by creating so-called ‘vanity plates’ that surround the obligatory identifying information with a message that car owners can choose subject to state approval. This raises the issue of whose view is on the plate, the car owner or the state. The fact that the owner chose that message argues in favor of the owner. The fact that the state issues the plates and controls what can be put on it argues in favor of the state. So what happens when the owner selects a message that the state objects to?
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More fallout from the Hobby Lobby decision

Religious groups are feeling their oats following their success in the Hobby Lobby case to carve out a religious exemption for themselves from following the law if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Now comes word that legislators in some states are seeking to expand that practice and allow businesses to not serve gay people if they disapprove of homosexuality on religious grounds.
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