Jun 4, 2018

Supreme Court sides with Christian baker over same-sex couple

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a relatively narrow win for Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Christian baker that refused to bake a custom cake for a same-sex couple.

The big picture: In a 7-2 decision, the court said Colorado officials in this case had not taken the baker's religious beliefs seriously enough, but also said that "some future controversy involving facts similar to these" could go the other way.

  • Same-sex couples and people exercising their religious beliefs both tend to win at the Supreme Court. This case initially seemed like a head-on collision between the two — and that’s part of what made it so high-profile.

But the court punted on those big issues. It focused instead on the specifics of this case, noting that same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado at the time this all happened, and pointing to evidence that Colorado officials had been dismissive of the baker’s beliefs.

  • “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Between the lines: The fact that the court ruled so narrowly on the legal issues in this case is almost certainly the reason this was a 7-2 decision.

  • Two liberal justices — Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan — joined Kennedy’s opinion. They would be highly unlikely to join a more sweeping ruling against same-sex couples.
  • In fact, Kennedy might not join such a decision either. He has written all of the court’s most significant decisions in favor of same-sex couples’ rights.

What's next: The other big pending Supreme Court decisions.

Go deeper

House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health