Bowers v. Hardwick
United States Supreme Court Opinion
This case, Bowers v. Hardwick, originated when Michael Hardwick was targeted by a policer officer for harassment in Georgia. A houseguest of Hardwick's let the officer into his home, where Hardwick was found engaging in oral sex with his partner, who was another male. Michael Hardwick was arrested and charged of sodomy. After charges were later dropped, Hardwick brought his case to the Supreme Court to have the sodomy law declared unconstitutional.
Justice White delivered the opinion of the Court. Justice Burger, Powell, Rehnquist, and O'Conner joined, filing concurring opinions. In Justice White's opinion, or while delivering it, he mentioned a lot of steps that were taken by Michael Hardwick to have his case at the Supreme Court. Justice White also mentioned and compared past court cases that might had relevance or helped make his opinion more valid. The key issue that was focused on by Justice White was whether or not the Federal Constitution grants a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy. There were still laws in many states that made sodomy illegal, and have been in place for a very long time.
When making his way to presenting his opinion of the Supreme Court, Justice White went through prior cases such as Loving v. Virginia, Roe v. Wade, Eisenstadt v. Baird, and many more; because the Court of Appeals and Hardwick claimed that these cases construed the Constitution to grant a right of privacy that stretch forth to homosexual sodomy. After reviewing prior cases and accepting the decisions in those cases, Justice White thought none of the rights announced in the previous cases bears any relevance or relation to Hardwick's claim that it is a constitutional right of homosexuals to engage in acts of sodomy. Due to sodomy being a criminal offense at common law and was forbidden by the laws of the first 13 states when they approved the Bill of Rights, Justice White found it impossible to grant a fundamental right to homosexuals to engage in acts of consensual sodomy. Hardwick relied on Stanley v. Georgia to affirm that the result should be different where homosexual conduct occurs in the privacy of the home. Since Stanley v. Georgia had support from the first amendment Hardwick thought he had another claim. However, as seen by Justice White, illegal conduct is not always immunized when it happens inside the home. For example, possession and use of illegal drugs, do not escape the law when committed at home. Since Justice White was unpersuaded that the sodomy laws of the states should be invalidated based on the claims and he did not agree, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.
Chief Justice Burger and Justice Powell also shared the same opinion, as Justice White read the opinion of the Court. Chief Justice Burger's view was that there is no such thing as a fundamental right to commit homosexual sodomy in constitutional terms. Although Chief Justice...