LSTD 510 APUS The State Action Doctrine Discussion

LSTD 510

American Public University System


Question Description

Help me study for my Political Science class. I’m stuck and don’t understand.

500 word discussion response. 250 words per each numbered paragraph below. 1 citation per each number below


The State Action Doctrine is an interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment essentially says that state and local governments must adhere to the constitutions bill of rights that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Cornell, n.d.). The state action doctrine basically reinforces this, and specifies that the constitution only applies to government action, and not private. One key thing to remember about the constitution was that its intention was to protect the people from government intervention. But, as a private citizen or company, I am not obligated to grant you constitutional rights such as freedom of speech or protection against searches. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, private companies could discriminate against people for a litany of reasons, however they saw fit. But once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted, not even private companies could discriminate against people for their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Cornell (n.d.) 14th Amendment. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv


In light of the previous conversation, I present Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In July 2012 Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a gay couple, went to a Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado wanting to purchase a wedding cake. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips, had refused to bake a cake for the gay couple based on his religious beliefs. In September 2012, the couple filed a discrimination complaint against Phillips to the Colorado Civil Rights Division who found that Phillips violated the The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act which:

‘prohibits businesses from discriminating, including based on sexual orientation. The law provides: “It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation.’

An Administrative Law Judge issued a written finding in favor of the couple. On an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals, it subsequently affirmed the findings. The case was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if Colorado's public accommodations law to compel a cake maker to design and make a cake that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about same-sex marriage violate the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment (Oyez, n.d).

In reference to the constitution, it doesn’t seem that the state action doctrine applies here because the bakery was a private business. However, the Supreme Court did find that the Phillips rights of Free exercise under the First Amendment were indeed violated by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

This is indeed an interesting case that ultimately landed in favor of Phillips. Looking at the case for what it is applying the federal constitution, what is happening here is two persons (the couple and Phillips) bother exercising their First Amendment rights that conflict. The fact that there was a private service refusal involved, forces an intersection of rights of free exercise and anti-discrimination. The state action isn’t involved until the Colorado Civil Rights Commission rules against Phillips to which the Supreme Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs (Vogue, 2018), and suppressed Phillips First Amendment rights. Since this was the premise on which the petition for writ of certiorari was accepted, Phillips does have a valid complaint of a violation of his First Amendment rights.


Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved March 19, 2020, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/2017/16-111

Vogue, A. (2018). Supreme court rules for Colorado baker in same-sex wedding cake case. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/04/politics/masterpiece-colorado-gay-marriage-cake-supreme-court/index.html

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Final Answer




Responses discussion


Institutional affiliation


Responses discussion

Response to the first post
Through the 14th amendment, it means becoming free from the government, which
protects the personal rights of the American citizens and ensures that they have the right not to
be denied their rights by any government entity. It was one of the most transformative
amendments that were made for the United States and had an impact on the lives of the
American citizens. As "14th Amendment" (2020) outlines that among the changes that were met
by the 14th amendment include the freedom to the slaves who were by law slaves. According to

Chancellor_Ivy (21973)
Purdue University

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