KU News Service

Supreme Court same-sex couple cake ruling narrow, not supportive of anti-discrimination exceptions, law expert says

Mon, 06/04/2018

LAWRENCE — The Supreme Court announced today it ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple, citing religious objections. The court ruled 7-2 and stated the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward baker Jack Phillips.

Richard E. Levy, J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Kansas, can discuss the case and ruling, which was one of the most anticipated cases of this term and is considered by many a follow-up to the ruling three years ago that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The ruling is narrow and not necessarily as clear-cut as it may seem on the surface, he said.

“The Supreme Court found in favor of the baker in this case on very narrow grounds, focusing on evidence that the state agency discriminated against the baker because of his religion,” Levy said. “In other words, the opinion does not stand for the general proposition that states must make exceptions to their anti-discrimination laws for deeply held religious beliefs.”

Levy, a constitutional law expert, can comment on the ruling, the aftermath, legal precedent, the Supreme Court and related issues. He frequently speaks with media on constitutional topics and cases such as school finance litigation, abortion rights and controversial judicial decisions. He joined the KU Law faculty in 1985, having received his law degree with honors from the University of Chicago Law School. Before joining the faculty, he served as a clerk for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In teaching and research, he has focused on constitutional law, administrative law and government institutions. He is a prolific scholar who was named a Postlethwaite Research Fellow, 1996-1999, and was named the inaugural J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law in 2007.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

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