By Ian Millhiser
A team of conservative lawyers filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Friday, effectively asking the Court to allow religious conservatives to discriminate against same-sex couples.
This latest case, Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, presents many of the same issues that arose last term in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. That case, billed as an epic showdown over whether religion can be used to discriminate, wound up being resolved in a nothingburger opinion holding that states must be exceedingly polite to religious conservatives when those states enforce their civil rights laws.
Yet, while Klein is factually quite similar to Masterpiece Cakeshop, the lawyers behind Klein ask for an even more aggressive decision than religious conservatives sought in Masterpiece. They do not simply ask for a decision permitting their client to discriminate, they ask the Court to completely overhaul its interpretation of the Constitution’s promise that everyone can freely exercise their religion — and to overrule a 28-year-old precedent authored by Justice Antonin Scalia in the process.
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