The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday agreed to hear [order list, PDF] arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case concerning a bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers [SCOTUSblog materials]. The court also denied review of an important Second Amendment [LII materials] gun rights case, Peruta v. California [SCOTUSblog materials]. Additionally, the court issued a summary reversal [opinion, PDF] in Pavan v. Smith [SCOTUSblog materials], a case concerning same-sex parents’ names being listed on birth certificates.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission the court will determine if the state’s public accommodations law violates the First Amendment [LII materials] rights of a “cake artist” by requiring him to compromise his religious beliefs by making cakes for same-sex marriages. The case concerns Charlie Craig and David Mullins who intended to commission Masterpiece Cakeshop for the celebration of their wedding but were denied service because of the owner’s religious beliefs. Petitioner filed a writ of certiorari [petition, PDF] last July.
In Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers the court will determine if “whistleblowers” who did not report misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] are protected by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (DFA) [text]. The case concerns an employee of Digital Trust Realty, Paul Somers, who sued his employer when he was terminated for reporting possible securities law violations to senior management. Somers was fired before he could take the allegations to the SEC. Digital Reality asserts that because he only reported the misconduct internally, he is not covered by the DFA’s “whistleblower” protection provisions.
The court denied review of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit‘s [official website] decision for Peruta v. California. The case concerns a group of gun right’s advocates from San Diego and Yolo Counties, joined by the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation [official website], who allege that their counties’ “good cause requirements” for concealed-carry permits violated their Second Amendment rights. The Ninth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] “that there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”
Finally, in Pavan v. Smith the court held that “the Constitution entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.” The case concerns two lesbian couples who each had a child born in Arkansas. Under Arkansas law, when an opposite-sex couple has a child, the woman’s spouse is listed on the birth certificate, regardless of whether he is the biological father. The law did not extend to same-sex couples. Both couples were denied the right to have the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. The court looked to the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to commit to “provid[ing] same-sex couples the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.”