Liberty in the constitutional sense is always a right against state interference (a “freedom from”). The First Amendment begins by saying that “Congress shall make no law”; it forbids Congress to license or fine or jail people for speaking, or publishing, or assembling. Liberty is also, always, a right to do something (a “freedom to”): to speak, to assemble, to practice religion, to get married, etc. So “freedom from” and “freedom to” are always parts of the same idea, just as “flying from” and “flying to” are aspects of the same airplane trip. Freedom is always the right to do some particular act without government restraint.
John H. Garvey,
Two Aspects of Liberty,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol91/iss4/1