Lawrence v. Texas

Key Facts– Here, Texas made it a crime to have intimate contact with members of the same sex. Lawrence appeals his conviction under the statute.

Issue– Does a statute prohibiting homosexual conduct violate the Due Process right to liberty?

Holding– Yes

Result– Law overturned

Reasoning– Sexual conduct and lifestyle choices related to it should be respected by the state. This is a part of the “realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.” Further, there is no legitimate state interest that justifies this.

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Washington v. Glucksberg (1997)

Key Facts– Washington had a law prohibiting assisted suicide. Dr. Glucksberg and colleagues sought to have this declared unconstitutional.

Issue– Does this law violate the “liberty” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment?

Holding– No

Result– Law affirmed.

Reasoning– Due Process liberties only include traditional, fundamental rights and liberties. The States have often prohibited suicide, which implies that it is not a protected liberty.