Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Masterpiece Cakeshop Dodge Sets Up An Epic Fight For The Next Supreme Court Vacancy

The food fight over Masterpiece Cakeshop shows how pivotal the next Supreme Court vacancy will be.
There were many ways to slice Masterpiece Cakeshop: the Supreme Court chose an exceedingly narrow cut that leaves all the big questions for another day. While it’s gratifying that, by a 7-2 vote, the court reversed Colorado’s persecution of Jack Phillips—the baker who had no problem serving gay people but wouldn’t bake a cake for a same-sex wedding—it did so only on the basis that the state commission that enforces antidiscrimination law displayed overt hostility to religion and treated secular refusals to bake religious messages differently. That’s an unusual circumstance, and one not typically in play in these wedding-vendor cases.
Indeed, the petition of a Washington florist who declined to provide arrangements for a longtime gay client’s wedding, Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington, is pending. With Monday’s narrow ruling, the justices can’t simply send that case back to the state court for reevaluation, because Monday’s rule of decision is fact-specific rather than announcing some clarifying principle.
Even if they do (we should learn by Monday), all they could ask of the Washington Supreme Court is to evaluate whether the state showed any anti-religious animus in its proceedings against Barronelle Stutzman. That perfunctory exercise would only buy a few months until a renewed petition arrived back at the marble palace.
That’s why this ruling is “narrow,” effectively a ticket good for this confection only. You’re simply not going to have too many cases where a government official will, in a public hearing, liken orthodox Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) beliefs about marriage to religious justifications for slavery and the Holocaust. (I’m not exaggerating; that’s why Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, was so upset with Colorado’s lawyer during oral argument.) Cynics may even say the rule is now that legislators and bureaucrats may indeed punish those whose views they don’t like, but only if they hide their motives.
Read the rest from Ilya Shapiro HERE at The Federalist

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