Brief Fact Summary. Respondent was charged with criminal sodomy for homosexual acts that took place in the privacy of his own home.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. There is no Constitutional right for homosexuals to engage in sodomy.
Issue. Does the United States’ Constitution confer a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy?
Held. No, Judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.
Fundamental liberties are those “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” such that “neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.” Neither of these formulations would extend a fundamental right to homosexuals to engage in acts of consensual sodomy
There should be great resistance to expand the substantive reach of the Due Process Clause, particularly if it requires redefining the category of rights deemed fundamental. Otherwise, the judiciary necessarily takes to itself further authority to govern the country without express constitutional authority.
Morality is enough for a rational basis. Law is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidating, the courts will be very busy indeed.
Discussion. There is no fundamental right for homosexuals to engage in sodomy because fundamental rights are those implicit in the concept of ordered liberty such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed. Because Sodomy has had a long history of being punished, it cannot be said that people have a fundamental right to engage in it.