Bakery case reminds that Constitution restricts government but does not grant rights

The recent Supreme Court case involving the baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple brings up a point about Constitutional rights. The First Amendment does not create or grant a right to free exercise of religion, it guarantees the Federal government will not violate this existing right.

Justice Kennedy wrote, in the majority opinion, “The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

Notice he does not say the ‘First Amendment’ right. He says the ‘First Amendment’s guarantee.’

Rights do not spring forth from the Constitution. There is no Second Amendment right to bear arms. There is a Second Amendment guarantee that the Federal Government will not infringe upon this right.

Please note that in the Slaughterhouse case before the Supreme Court, a state citizen could not use the amendments to the Constitution (for USA) as a defense against the Louisiana state government. A state government can infringe upon rights, that the federal government cannot, if the state constitution allows this.

The recent Supreme Court case with the baker seems to conflict with Slaughterhouse case, since the baker claimed the constitution protected him from actions of the Colorado commission. Perhaps the baker entered the court as a 14th Amendment federal citizen, not a citizen of one of the union states. Perhaps the court used the infamous constitution of the United States (not ‘for’ the United States of America).


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