Supreme Court upholds districts as drawn

Netflix

Netflix

Its decision to send the North Carolina case back to the lower court indicates the justices are no closer to delivering a comprehensive ruling on whether courts can curb partisan gerrymandering when it is done in such an extreme way that it deprives certain voters of their constitutional rights. The two sued Stutzman after she declined, because of her faith, to design custom floral arrangements celebrating the same-sex wedding of a customer she had served for almost 10 years. And he says the language of the decision would seem to make it far more hard to punish a recalcitrant state by putting it back under federal supervision for the next decade, a provision left intact by the Supreme Court five years ago. That court could still rule against the florist once it reconsiders any possible evidence of bias.

The Supreme Court's 7-2 ruling in favor of Denver-area baker Jack Phillips left significant legal issues unresolved that the justices potentially could have addressed had they taken up the florist case.

"We are confident that the [Washington] court will again see that no business should have a right to discriminate".

State officials and the American Civil Liberties Union representing the gay couple opposed Stutzman's effort and urged the court to deny her appeal. In a narrow ruling, the court sent that case back to the state for reexamination as well.

Arlene's Flowers v. Washington began as a lawsuit filed by a gay couple - Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed - against Arlene's Flowers after the owner, Baronelle Stutzman, refused to create floral arrangements for their wedding.

Stutzman, a Washington state florist, was offered multiple opportunities to settle her case by state and local prosecutors but repeatedly refused.

The justices' order Monday means the court is passing for now on the chance to decide whether business owners can refuse on religious grounds to comply with anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people. The bottom line, though, is that even though the lower court ruled districts in and around Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio had been drawn to minimize minority voting power, the Supreme Court only agreed about one state legislative district. However, the Supreme Court did pass down a ruling on a Texas racial gerrymandering case that may have implications for North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Guy-Uriel Charles, an Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law at Duke University and co-director of the Center on Law, Race, and Politics, about the Supreme Court's rejection of a North Carolina gerrymandering case.

Early this month, the Supreme Court issued a limited ruling in favour of Jack Phillips, the proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado.

Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee echoed a similar sentiment in a press release of his own.

Stutzman says it didn't bother her then, and it doesn't bother her now that her friend and customer is gay, adding she opted out of participating in one event in ten years because scripture teaches her that marriage between a man and a woman.

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