U.S. Supreme Court sends Richland florist case back to state

Brendan Dassey is escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom

Brendan Dassey is escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom

In an unsigned order, the justices vacated a lower court ruling that found a Washington state florist intentionally discriminated against a same-sex couple by refusing to provide flowers.

Arlene's Flowers store on Lee Boulevard in Richland.

Stutzman took the case to the Washington state Supreme Court before eventually bringing it in front of the federal Supreme Court in 2017. Under state law in Washington, she could also be liable for the third-party attorneys' fees to the private individuals in the case.

In 2013, Rob Ingersoll, a longtime friend and customer of Stutzman, asked her to arrange flowers for his same-sex wedding ceremony.

"The Court today goes out of its way to permit the State of Texas to use maps that the three-judge District Court unanimously found were adopted for the goal of preserving the racial discrimination that tainted its previous maps", wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Waggoner, who argued on Stutzman's behalf before the Washington Supreme Court in 2016, insisted Stutzman "serves all customers", but won't create "custom art that expresses messages or celebrates events in conflict with her deeply held religious beliefs". "The attorney general has always ignored that part of my case, choosing to vilify me and my faith instead of respecting my religious beliefs about marriage". Other cases now working their way through the lower courts involve printers, photographers, videographers, and calligraphers who said their religious beliefs will not allow them to offer their services for same-sex wedding ceremonies.

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Ferguson said in a statement "we expected this procedural step" from the U.S. Supreme Court in the aftermath of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.

The couple, who had purchased flowers from Stutzman in the past, and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued her and won.

The justices ordered a new look based on their week-old ruling in a similar case from Wisconsin. In the Wisconsin decision, the Supreme Court said the voters' primary legal argument - that their voting clout was being improperly diluted - had to be pressed on a district-by-district basis.

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court denied a plea to intervene in the case of 28-year-old Brendan Dassey, Reuters reports. He argued that the Supreme Court had "passed on a huge opportunity to improve justice, especially for juveniles".

The Supreme Court's decision comes as there are plans for a second season of "Making a Murderer", which premiered on Netflix in 2015. That court ruled against Stutzman, as did the Washington Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court justices' limited ruling in turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on that commission when it ruled against Colorado baker Jack Phillips. Washington state ruled that Arlene's Flowers could not decline to provide its arrangements for same-sex weddings under the state's public accommodation laws. "Our work to ensure LGBT equality is the law and the norm in all 50 states will continue".

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