Lawrence v. Texas: The Decision and Its Implications for the Future
30 Pages Posted: 2 May 2014
Date Written: 2004
In Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Texas did not have the constitutional power to criminalize consensual homosexual sodomy that takes place in the home. It found that sodomy between consenting adults in the privacy of the home is a protected liberty interest and that the state of Texas did not have a legitimate governmental interest in infringing it. The decision raises a number of difficult and controversial aspects of constitutional interpretation.
The specific issue in Lawrence is part of the larger issue of when it is appropriate for the United States Supreme Court to imply a constitutionally protected right under the doctrine of substantive due process. When is it appropriate for the Court to find that individuals have a constitutionally protected right in the areas of personal autonomy or sexual privacy, even though the right is not supported by the text of the Constitution? The author analyzes the Lawrence case, both where it might fit in terms of constitutional substantive due process case law and where the decision might lead in the future.
Keywords: Lawrence v. Texas, right to privacy, substantive due process, protected liberty interests, personal autonomy, U.S. Supreme Court, Section 1983 litigation
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