Front-page NYT headline: “Supreme Court Rules Against Gay Couple in Cake Case, 7-2”.
But the story says that the case is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In other words, the happy now-married couple is not part of the litigation so the ruling could not have been either for or against them.
It didn’t come down as Harvey Silverglate had predicted (see “The Colorado baker case at the Supreme Court”), but seems to have hinged on the Supreme Court justices reading the minds of the state bureaucrats who punished the baker:
“The neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised here,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”
So is the NYT headline accurate? Did the 7 justices rule against the potential cake customers or against the bureaucrats on a state commission?
Another way to look at this is that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of litigation. Instead of a bright-line rule that would enable everyone to know in advance how a cake situation should be resolved, they suggest a more elaborate process for litigating cake-related disputes. The process has to include judges who, if they are hostile to religious believers, keep this hostility secret and find a neutral-sounding way to stick it to the haters.
- Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (cake shop fined $130,000 for their hatred)