« NFW | Main | Is Google God? »

"Liberty Presumes an Autonomy of Self..."

From Justice Kennedy's opinion for the majority in the Supreme Court's decision to overrule lower courts in Lawrence v. Texas:

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...

[T]he Court in Bowers was making the broader point that for centuries there have been powerful voices to condemn homosexual conduct as immoral. The condemnation has been shaped by religious beliefs, conceptions of right and acceptable behavior, and respect for the traditional family. For many persons these are not trivial concerns but profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles to which they aspire and which thus determine the course of their lives. These considerations do not answer the question before us, however. The issue is whether the majority may use the power of the State to enforce these views on the whole society through operation of the criminal law.

Of course, the Court found that the majority may not, in fact, "use the power of the State to enforce [anti-homosexual views] on the whole society through operation of the criminal law."

It has been a while since I've been really proud of something my government has done. This is one of those days.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


I agree wholeheartedly. The defendants in this case were in the Houston Pride Parade this weekend, and it made me very, very happy to see them. Can you imagine 150,000 people cheering as loud as they can for you? They deserve it, and so so much more.

Post a comment