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Bowers v. Hardwick

United States Supreme Court
478 U.S. 186 (1986)



A Georgia statute criminalized oral and anal sex. Hardwick, and adult male, was charged with violating the statute with another adult male in Hardwick’s home. The District Attorney decided not to pursue the matter before a grand jury. Hardwick challenged the statute’s constitutionality in federal district court, arguing that as a homosexual he was at risk of being arrested under the statute again in the future. The district court dismissed the suit for failing to state a claim. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding that Hardwick’s homosexual activities were private and could not be regulated by state law under the Ninth Amendment and the Due Process Clause, and that the Georgia statute therefore violated Hardwick’s fundamental rights.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Concurrence (Burger, C.J.)

Concurrence (Powell, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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