Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lawrence Laughs

Okay, I'm three years late with this post.
But LitCon has a nice critique of a very silly article on Lawrence v. Texas-- the 2003 Supreme Court case that held you can't keep two men from engaging in "certain intimate sexual conduct" between consenting adults, viz., "contact between any part of the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person."
Ah, Lawrence.  Justice Kennedy's opinion was clearly written to crack [don't even say it!] up adolescents:
Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home. And there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.
"Liberty protects the person from unwarranted . . . government intrusions into ... other private places."
Do I have to give you the punchline?  This is a 12-year-old's comic gold!
The "liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions."  But particularly its spatial ones.  Unless I'm missing something [stop!].
I love the ending appeal to the Founding Fathers / later legislators:
Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific.
I can just imagine the reaction in 1868 to a proposed rider [come on, that's a bit of a stretch] to the 14th Amendment that addresses the "specific" components of liberty it was not granting to gays when they forbade slavery and disenfranchement of Blacks.
Anyway, I don't disagree with Kennedy that "[a]s the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom," or with the outcome of the case.
I just think the opinion's rationale is silly-- the Court clearly saw "The Birdcage" and "Will & Grace" and recognized which way the wind was blowing [all right, already--grow up!].
And I'm an idiot who'll read SCOTUS opinions for laughs.

1 comment:

Jack Roy said...


But literally-LOL. Chucklesnort.