Samuel A. Alito

Ghost of Justice Scalia looms as Supreme Court debates religion and civil rights law

Ghost of Justice Scalia looms as Supreme Court debates religion and civil rights law

The ghost of Justice Antonin Scalia often hangs over the Supreme Court, perhaps never more so than as the justices struggle with the case of the Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage.

Scalia often spoke of his strong Catholic faith. But he also believed the courts should not grant religious exemptions to the laws that everyone must follow.

A person’s right to religious freedom does not “excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law,” Scalia wrote in 1990 for a 5-4 majority that included then-new Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The “political process,” not courts, should decide such questions, he said. Although some religious claims may...

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