Supreme Court punts again on religious ‘freedom’ to discriminate against gay couples

Supreme Court sends back case of a Christian florist who refused to work a same-sex wedding

The U.S. Supreme Court partially upheld Texas' political maps in a 5-4 ruling today.

Washington has a law forbidding businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, so the state and the couple each sued Arlene's Flowers and Gifts as violating the law.

Burnam said the nation's highest court is not ensuring minorities are being adequately represented.

"The issue at the heart of both [the] redistricting case and the travel ban case is the lingering impact of prior discrimination on something you do a few months later", Levitt said.

North Carolina has been described as one of the most gerrymandered states, and over the past seven years voters have chosen elected officials for the General Assembly and U.S. Congress from election districts that were later struck down by the courts as either racial or partisan gerrymanders. As The Washington Post reported, the court in the earlier cases didn't rule on the merits of the issue-whether the electoral maps in those two states were so partisan that they effectively disenfranchised voters from, in Maryland, the Republican Party and, in Wisconsin, the Democratic Party. The court did rule, however, that one of the eight challenged state legislature districts was unlawful. In Hawai'i, the owner of a B&B who refused to rent a room to Lambda Legal clients, a lesbian couple, has petitioned the Hawai'i Supreme Court.

"Not only does the direct evidence suggest that the 2013 Legislature lacked discriminatory intent, but the circumstantial evidence points overwhelmingly to the same conclusion", wrote Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

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"There is simply no record of anti-religious sentiment from the Washington State courts, and we have every reason to believe the Washington State Supreme Court will reaffirm Curt and Robert's right to be full and equal members of our society", Emily Chiang said, the chapter's legal director. However, it ruled the state House District 90 in Tarrant County was an impermissible racial gerrymander.

The Como neighborhood, which is a predominantly African-American neighborhood, is at the heart of the dispute. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

The legislature also shifted more Hispanics into District 90 to keep it a majority-Hispanic district.

Gerrymandering - the drawing of electoral districts in ways that racially discriminate or favour one political party over another - is typically accomplished by packing voters who tend to favour a particular party into a small number of districts to reduce their statewide voting power while scattering others in districts in numbers too small to be a majority.

The legislation was signed by President Lyndon Johnson and was aimed at making sure state and local governments no longer prevented African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. "Unfortunately, the Supreme Court fell short". Instead, they sent it back to the Washington State Supreme Court to reconsider. Ten of the state's 13 congressional districts are led by Republicans.

Burnam said, "When it comes to districts, everything's connected to everything else". But they're not going to undo what I've done wholesale.

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