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On the home page of is an article, entitled, “The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee you the rights you think it does.”

I thought – okay – its CNN posting something on the Constitution. This has got to be good. And by good, I mean really bad. Virtually the only time the left positively comments on the Constitution, they refer only to the First Amendment, for which they can bend and twist to suit their needs. It’s as if the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights does not exist.

The article begins by recounting the entire First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances

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It’s short, to the point and easy to understand. Apparently it is not, for the author feels obliged to drag out First Amendment expert, Lata Nott, of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, to explain.

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At first blush I thought this a ridiculous notion, but then remembered just who, for the most part, is partaking of the wisdom of CNN – other leftists, who wouldn’t know a Constitution if you handed them one.

“There’s a lot going on in those few sentences, and it’s important to know when and how it applies to common situations — and, equally as important, when it doesn’t,” writes the author. As the left loves to brandish their free speech rights, the article centers on this.

Within the article Ms. Nott addressed free speech issues pertaining to social media, criticizing government, having a comment or post deleted online and of course, giving a speech on a college campus. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of her conclusions were reasoned and correct – except the following.

Ms. Nott states that, “It’s the [private] company’s right to discipline their employees’ speech. But [there’s always a but] just because a private employer has the right to fire someone for something they say doesn’t give them legal carte blanche. Depending on what the fired employee said, the employer could be in violation of the Civil Rights Act, or possibly in violation of contract law.”

Oh contraire, Ms Nott – there is no “but.” I’m not a Constitutional scholar like you, but I can read – and I have only 10 words to digest. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…” It was Congress who passed the “Civil Rights Act,” and if this Act in any way “abridges the freedom of speech,” it is axiomatically unconstitutional. In fact the private employer does have carte blanche at his or her private place of business on his or her private property. See how easy this is. The employee has no fundamental right of employment, unless of course the two parties entered into an aforementioned mutually agreed upon contract.

However, Ms. Nott further explains that it is more complicated in the public sector. I would agree, but only because the public sector has, by its own doing, created the complication. She writes that, “Institutions like police departments, public schools and local government branches can’t restrict employee’s free speech rights, but they do need to assure that such speech doesn’t keep the employee from doing their job.” She forgot to add – unless they are out campaigning for Hillary Clinton, marching with Blacks Lives Matters, or protesting with Antifa.

The public employer should be able to do as the private and fire the employee – but they can’t, because of the system they themselves set up, i.e. Public sector Unions and contracts. Again, the “public” employee has no more right to a job than does the private sector one. But the public system has so corrupted itself that it is virtually impossible to take any action. The employee has a right to free speech, but no right to a job.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

The Common Constitutionalist

Brent Smith, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a constitutional conservative who advocates for first principles – the founders' original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy and a martial arts expert. Smith considers himself just an average Joe with no formal journalism background – but rather than simply complain about the state of our nation, he took to the Internet to battle the left.


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