Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lawrence v. Texas case brief

Lawrence v. Texas case brief summary
539 U.S. 558 (2003)

SYNOPSIS and HOLDING:  The United States Supreme Court for the first time concluded that homosexuals have dignity as free persons and deserve full constitutional respect. The decision also is a notable milestone in the evolution of the concept of "liberty" and a corresponding right of privacy. Liberty and privacy interests protected under the Due Process Clause were described by the Court as having spatial and more transcendent dimensions. Thus, citizens were entitled to freedom from unwarranted government intrusion in their homes and other private places. Liberty in a more transcendent dimension, according to the Court, "presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct."

FACTS: The state law made it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct.
-Police responded to a weapons disturbance call and entered a private home where they came upon two individuals engaged in same sex relations. 

-The state appellate court's decision to uphold the Texas law was based upon the United States Supreme Court decision in Bowers.
-In considering the doctrine of stare decisis in the instant case, the Court held that there was no individual or societal reliance on Bowers of the sort that could counsel against overturning its holding once there were compelling reasons to do so.
-The Court further held that there were compelling reasons to overturn Bowers. The central holding of Bowers demeaned the lives of homosexual persons. Petitioners were adults at the time of the alleged offense.
-Their conduct was in private and consensual.
-Petitioners were entitled to respect for their private lives.
-The State could not demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.
-The Court also noted that the reasoning and holding of Bowers had been rejected in other nations, and there was no showing that the United States' governmental interest was more legitimate or urgent.

OUTCOME: The judgment of the state appellate court was reversed and remanded.

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