The U.S. Supreme Court today announced its long-anticipated opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (.pdf), in a 7-2 plurality decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Breyer joined. Justice Gorsuch filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Alito joined. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Gorsuch joined. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Sotomayor joined.
Justice Kennedy’s opinion, as he is wont to do in these type of cases, tried to satisfy both sides producing a narrow decision that, in practice, will only invite further litigation on the specifics of each case in the future. That is a dissatisfactory result for all.
Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has the Opinion analysis: Court rules (narrowly) for baker in same-sex-wedding-cake case:
The Supreme Court ruled today in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex couple because he believed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. This was one of the most anticipated decisions of the term, and it was relatively narrow: Although Phillips prevailed today, the opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy rested largely on the majority’s conclusion that the Colorado administrative agency that ruled against Phillips treated him unfairly by being too hostile to his sincere religious beliefs. The opinion seemed to leave open the possibility that, in a future case, a service provider’s sincere religious beliefs might have to yield to the state’s interest in protecting the rights of same-sex couples, and the majority did not rule at all on one of the central arguments in the case – whether compelling Phillips to bake a cake for a same-sex couple would violate his right to freedom of speech.