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U.S. Constitution

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Part I
Read the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the following cases:

Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986)
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=U.S.&vol=478&invol=186

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)
http://supreme.jU.S.tia.com/U.S./539/558/case.html

Part II

What societal factors may have caused the U.S. Supreme Court to abandon the rule of stare decisis in the Lawrence v. Texas and Bowers v. Hardwick cases?

Outline the major societal arguments that influenced the U.S. Supreme Court decision in both cases and the subsequent reversal.
Identify specific examples to support your explanation.

Examine some of the specific arguments used by the Justices of the Supreme Court in the majority and dissenting opinions.

Include any philosophical underpinning that might have influenced the thinking of the judges on the court at the time both cases were being decided.

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Solution Preview

What societal factors may have caused the U.S. Supreme Court to abandon the rule of stare decisis in the Lawrence v. Texas and Bowers v. Hardwick cases?
Outline the major societal arguments that influenced the U.S. Supreme Court decision in both cases and the subsequent reversal. Identify specific examples to support your explanation.
Examine some of the specific arguments used by the Justices of the Supreme Court in the majority and dissenting opinions.
Include any philosophical underpinning that might have influenced the thinking of the judges on the court at the time both cases were being decided
Step 1
The rule of stare decisis was abandoned because there were societal changes since the time Bowers v. Hardwick judgment had been passed. In Bowers v. Hardwick it was held that there was no constitutional protection for acts of sodomy and that states had the right to outlaw those practices. The argument used in Bowers v. Hardwick was that the court could not protect rights that were not easily identifiable in the Constitution. Sodomy rights were not explicitly mentioned. The court had held in Bowers v. Hardwick that the right to commit sodomy was not explicitly mentioned in the US constitution. The judge did not want to give the right to sodomy. Now the rule of stare decisis is a legal principle by which judges are obliged to respect the precedents established by prior decisions. The judges in case of Lawrence v. Texas decided not to stand by the decision in Bowers v. Hardwick and decided to deliver a judgment that was different from the ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick. The judges in Lawrence v. Texas decided not to abide by the precedents. The general rule is that a court should not overturn its own precedents unless there is strong reason to do so. So, it is presumed that there were strong reasons to overturn the ruling of the Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick.
Step 2
The Bowers v. Hardwick decision was delivered in 1986 in which the constitutionality of the Georgia sodomy law was upheld. The Georgia sodomy law had criminalized oral and anal sex in private between consensual adults, when applied to homosexuals. Now since the judgment in ...

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Discussion around ten statements made about the U.S. Constitution

Please provide short responses to the 10 points about the U.S. Constitution (e.g., , no right or wrong answers). Here is an example of the format to use:

EX: The word democracy does not appear in the Constitution.

ANS: I find this information fascinating because today there is so much talk about our democracy and it just seems strange to me that the word was not included in the Constitution. I wonder if that means that they did not think of the Constitution in the same way that we are taught today.

Below are the 10 points to discuss:

? The U.S. Constitution has 4,440 words. It is the oldest and the shortest written constitution of any government in the world.

? Of the typographical errors in the Constitution, the misspelling of the word "Pensylvania" above the signers' names is probably the most glaring.

? Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either.

? The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey was 26. The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin which was 81.

? The Constitution does not set forth requirements for the right to vote. As a result, at the outset of the Union, only male property-owners could vote. African Americans were not considered citizens, and women were excluded from the electoral process. Native Americans were not given the right to vote until 1924.

? James Madison, "the father of the Constitution," was the first to arrive in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. He arrived in February; three months before the convention began, bearing the blueprint for the new Constitution.

? When the Constitution was signed, the United States' population was 4 million. It is now more than 300 million. Philadelphia was the nation's largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants.

? It took one hundred days to actually "frame" the Constitution.

? During an event to celebrate the Constitution's Sesquicentennial in 1937, Harry F. Wilhelm recited the entire document through the newly added 21st Amendment from memory. He then obtained a job in the Sesquicentennial mailroom! Representatives and the Senate compromised on the use of "President of the United States."

? Vermont ratified the Constitution on January 10, 1791, even though it had not yet become a state.

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