Michael Hardwick was observed by a Georgia police officer while engaging in the act of consensual homosexual sodomy with another adult in. Bowers v. Hardwick. U.S. Brief Filed: 1/ Court: Supreme Court of the United States Year of Decision: Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF. The struggle for LGBT equality has involved a number of important and controversial court cases, including Bowers v. Hardwick. Learn about the.


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United States []…was about a fundamental right to place interstate bets from a telephone booth.

Bowers v. Hardwick: Summary & Decision

Stevens also issued a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Brennan and Marshall. During the next several years, lower courts relied on Bowers v.

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Hardwick to dismiss claims of bowers v hardwick discrimination against gays and lesbians, reasoning that a group that is constitutionally subject to criminal penalties for its behaviour could justifiably be treated differently from other groups.

Accepting the decisions in these cases and the above description of them, we think it evident that none of the rights announced in those cases bears any resemblance to the claimed constitutional right of homosexuals to engage in acts of sodomy that is asserted in this case.

No connection between family, marriage, or procreation on the one hand and homosexual activity on the other has been demonstrated, either by the Court of Appeals or by respondent. Moreover, any claim that these cases nevertheless stand for the proposition that any kind of private sexual conduct between consenting adults is constitutionally insulated from state proscription is unsupportable.

Bowers v. Hardwick - Wikipedia

Precedent aside, however, respondent would have us announce, as the Court of Appeals did, a fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy. This we are quite unwilling to do.


It is true that despite the language of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which appears to focus only on the processes by which life, liberty, or property is taken, the cases are legion in which those Clauses have been interpreted to have substantive content, subsuming rights that to a great extent are immune from federal bowers v hardwick state regulation or proscription.

Among such cases are those recognizing rights that have little or no textual support in the constitutional language. Meyer, Prince, and Pierce fall in this category, as do the privacy cases from Griswold to Carey.


Striving to assure itself and the public that bowers v hardwick rights not readily identifiable in the Constitution's text involves much more than the imposition of the Justices' own choice of values on the States and the Federal Government, the Court has sought to identify the nature of the rights qualifying for heightened judicial protection.

Proscriptions against that conduct have ancient roots.

Sodomy was a criminal offense at common law and was forbidden by the laws of the original 13 States when they ratified the Bill of Rights.

Nor are we inclined to take a more expansive view of our authority to discover new fundamental rights imbedded in the Due Bowers v hardwick Clause. The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution.

That this is so was painfully demonstrated by the face-off between the Executive and the Court in the 's, which resulted in the repudiation of much of the substantive gloss that the Court had placed on the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

There should be, therefore, great resistance to expand the substantive reach of those Clauses, particularly if it requires redefining the category of rights deemed to be fundamental.

Bowers v. Hardwick: Summary & Decision |

Otherwise, the Judiciary necessarily takes to itself further authority to govern the country without express constitutional authority. The claimed right pressed on us today falls far short of overcoming this resistance.

Respondent, however, asserts that the result should be different where the homosexual conduct occurs in the privacy of the home.

He relies on Stanley v. Reasonable people may differ about whether particular sexual acts are moral or immoral, but we have ample evidence for believing that people will not abandon morality, will not think any bowers v hardwick of murder, cruelty and dishonesty, merely because some private sexual practice which they abominate is not punished by the law.

Petitioner and the Court fail to see the difference between laws that protect public sensibilities and those that enforce private morality. Statutes banning [p] public sexual activity are entirely consistent with protecting the individual's liberty interest in decisions concerning sexual relations: But the mere fact that intimate behavior may be punished when it takes place in public cannot dictate how States can regulate intimate behavior that occurs in intimate places.

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