Supreme Court delays flowershop decision

NewImageJustices say Washington judges should reconsider case after Colorado ruling. Via the LA Times

WASHINGTON – 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.

The justices said they would not hear two similar cases in the fall, instead sending them back to lower courts to be reconsidered under the hazy standards recently issued by the high court.

The brief orders, issued without registered dissents, suggest the justices are essentially deadlocked on both issues for now.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy usually acts as the tiebreaker in close cases, but he apparently declined this month to decide on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering or whether store owners can claim a religious exemption from a state civil rights law that requires equal treatment for all customers, including gays and lesbians.

The court sent back a pending appeal from a florist in Richland, who was convicted of violating the state’s civil rights law for refusing to provide a floral arrangement for a wedding of two men.

The court’s one-line order Monday said Washington state judges should reconsider the case “in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado.”