Would Trump nominee help overturn Washington state florist case? | KUOW News and Information

Would Trump nominee help overturn Washington state florist case?

Feb 17, 2017

How would U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch handle the case of the Eastern Washington florist who refused to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple?

It’s not completely clear, but there are some hints, Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick told KUOW’s David Hyde.

On Thursday, Washington's Supreme Court said florist Baronell Stutzman of Richland broke state law in refusing the sale.

Stutzman argued that to do so would have infringed on her religious freedom.

“For me to be a part of celebrating something that is totally against my faith,” she said, “it's not that I wouldn't, it's that I couldn't do that."

Stutzman plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. And if the court hears the case, President Donald Trump's nominee may be on it.

Has Gorsuch, a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled in similar cases? Lithwick said there are no identical cases.

But in the Hobby Lobby case, which the 10th Circuit Court ruled on in 2013, and other cases, “he has a pretty consistent track record for siding with religious entities, and siding against the notion that we don’t make exceptions for religious dissenters.”

That said, Lithwick said it may not make a difference  in this case, since for now Gorsuch would be replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia and “presumably taking his positions” on these kinds of cases. But if anyone else retires from the Supreme Court, that could tip the balance in a case like Stutzman’s.