US Supreme Court upholds Virginia ban on uranium mining

Tuesday, 18 Jun, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2018.

But the high court also ordered the Oregon Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision upholding the state's fine in light of another wedding cake case from Colorado the Supreme Court decided a year ago.

The Justices were split on their opinion, with five signing onto the majority opinion and four dissenting.

Virginia Republicans claimed the lower court ruling contradicted an earlier preclearance of the legislative map by Barack Obama's Justice Department when it was first drawn up in 2011. In turn, the Kleins argued their actions were protected under the First Amendment's free speech and free exercise of religion clauses.

The new case, which originated in OR, features a family-owned bakery, Sweetcakes by Melissa, and a lesbian couple.

First Liberty, the group representing the bakers, said in a statement Monday that the court's move was a "victory".

"By asking the state courts to reconsider their ruling in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the justices are, in effect, asking the OR courts if a similarly narrow basis is available for resolving this case - even though the parties have framed the case as presenting a broader conflict between the constitutional rights to religious liberty and same-sex marriage". Eventually the justices returned the matter to a Washington state court with orders to reconsider it in light of Masterpiece. The Supreme Court will likely have to weigh in eventually, regardless of their decision not to hear this new case right now, according to legal experts. Klein said the bakery did not make cakes for same-sex ceremonies because the Kleins believe that a marriage is limited to the union between a man and a woman.

The Kleins had previously made a cake at the request of the same lesbian couple for McPherson's previous heterosexual wedding.

McGowan said it was important not to lose focus on the couple who were denied service at Sweetcakes when they entered the business expecting the same kind of treatment as any other couple seeking a wedding cake.

The Kleins closed their bakery in 2016, but they've become figureheads for a religious liberty movement.

"I think that their analysis below was extremely thorough, and, I think, in many ways should have been put to rest any of the concerns that the court found in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case to the extent that they want to ask them to go back just show their work and make absolutely sure that there's nothing to be concerned about", McGowan said. The Kleins did not discuss the design of the cake or what message it would convey before refusing to make it, the state's lawyers said. The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled against the Kleins, and the Oregon Supreme Court declined to take the case.

It's the latest in a series of clashes between devout business owners and states' accommodation laws.

A state court in OR upheld that decision, finding that cakes do not deserve full First Amendment protection because they incorporate many non-expressive elements, and whatever expression they convey is not imputed to the creator. "This court has never held that a judicial decision invalidating a state law as unconstitutional inflicts a discrete, cognizable injury on each organ of government that participated in the law's passage".