The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to toss the Arlene’s Flowers case back to the Washington State Supreme Court instead of ruling on it wasn’t all bouquets for Barronelle Stutzman.
Get this: the highest court in the land dodged making a decisive ruling for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission several weeks ago, then proceeded to tell judges in Washington state to take a second look on the Arlene’s Flowers case in light of the vague Masterpiece decision.
In other words, did government officials in Washington state show the same kind of negative bias against Stutzman's religious convictions that was demonstrated in Colorado? That's the point of logic that journalists had to figure out.
Living just east of Seattle as I do, I’m betting the Washington Supreme Court will make exactly the same decision they did before, then lob the case back onto the U.S. Supreme Court’s side. Looking at the local media react, KIRO radio said:
Three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a Colorado baker to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding, the court sent the similar Arlene’s Flowers v. Washington case back to Olympia for another look.
And according to Kristen Waggoner with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that is working pro bono for the florist, Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman of Richland is feeling “hopeful” about getting a second chance at the Washington State Supreme Court.
Waggoner explained to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the decision essentially nullifies the Washington State Supreme Court’s previous ruling that Stutzman violated the Constitution in 2013 when she refused to do a floral arrangement for a gay wedding.
The Chicago Tribune had a better read:
After failing to fully resolve two difficult cases this term, the Supreme Court signaled Monday it was still not ready to decide whether a Christian shop owner can refuse service to a same-sex wedding or when some states have gone too far in gerrymandering their election maps for partisan advantage.