June 20, 2019 Feature

Washington Supreme Court to Reconsider Decision on Religious-Based Denial of Public Services

By Bill Scheiderich

Following upon its decision In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 138 S. Ct. 1719 (2018), the US Supreme Court vacated and remanded for reconsideration a Washington State Supreme Court decision (State v. Arlene’s Flowers, Inc. 187 Wn 804 (2017) that decided facts similar to those of Masterpiece Cakeshop (cert. granted, judgement vacated sub nom Arlene’s Flowers, Inc. v. State. 138 S. Ct. 2671(2018). SCOTUS directed the state court to consider whether anti-religious animus contributed to the decision below and thus violated the shop owner’s Free Exercise rights as it found in Masterpiece. The consolidated cases of State of Washington- and Ingersoll and Freed v. Arlene’s Flowers now have been briefed for the hearing on reconsideration; the following is this writer’s summary of the arguments made in the briefs.

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