Sexual Injustice: Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe

Synopsis

The U.S. Supreme Court of the 1960s and 1970s is typically celebrated by liberals and condemned by conservatives for its rulings on abortion, birth control, and other sexual matters. In this new work, historian Marc Stein demonstrates convincingly that both sides have it wrong. Focusing on six major Supreme Court cases, Stein examines more liberal rulings on birth control, abortion, interracial marriage, and obscenity alongside a profoundly conservative ruling on homosexuality in Boutilier.

In the same era in which the Court recognized special marital, reproductive, and heterosexual rights and privileges, it also upheld an immigration statute that classified homosexuals as "psychopathic personalities." How, then, did Americans come to believe that the Court supported the sexual revolution? Stein shows that a diverse set of influential journalists, judges, and scholars translated the Court's language about marital and reproductive rights into bold statements about sexual freedom and equality. Creatively researched and persuasively argued, this book not only provides the first in-depth account of Boutilier, one of the Court's earliest gay rights cases, but will change the way we think about the Supreme Court and the sexual revolution.