US Supreme Court punts: Justices send anti-gay Christian bakers' case back to lower court
The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to weigh in on a case brought by an Oregon anti-gay couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The court has effectively kicked the can down the road, sending the case back to a lower court for review.
The case is Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, involving Sweetcakes by Melissa, the bakery whose owners raked in over a half-million dollars in donations.
These cases involving anti-LGBTQ Christian bakers, florists, and other groups who make a lot of money from couples getting married are not going away. There are legal firms who specialize in this niche business now – and in getting their cases before the Supreme Court.
It is not unlikely the Court will take up this or another cases – most likely a group of cases – this fall, with the decision coming out one year from now, just months before the 2020 election.
UPDATE: 10:22 AM –
Bloomberg offers this disturbing addition, noting the $135,000 award the Klein's were forced to pay the couple has been set aside and the lower court has been ordered to review the case through the lens of what it claimed at the time was a very narrow ruling limited only to one case: Colorado baker Jack Phillips.
After more than three months of deliberation, the justices Monday set aside the award and told an Oregon state appeals court to revisit the case in light of a 2018 Supreme Court ruling in a similar fight from Colorado. The Supreme Court resolved that case narrowly -- and avoided the core constitutional questions -- by saying Colorado officials had shown animus toward the baker’s religious views.
It would not be unwise to assume the Trump-remade Supreme Court will use that supposedly limited Masterpiece Cake Shop case as a template, and lean toward or rule for anti-gay Christians wanting to use their religion as a shield to discriminate.