First among Friends: Interest Groups, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Right to Privacy

By Suzanne U. Samuels; Nadine Strossen | Go to book overview

5

Amici Curiae and Protected Relationships

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard two cases in the last three decades that have set the parameters for determining which relationships are entitled to heightened due process protection. In 1977, the Court decided Moore v. City of East Cleveland and evaluated a municipal ordinance that required that all persons living in a dwelling unit be part of a single family, but defined family in such a way that only nuclear families were granted protection and thus permitted to live together. In 1986, the Court heard Bowers v. Hardwick and considered a Georgia criminal sodomy statute that barred sodomy, even when engaged in by two consenting adults. Both laws were challenged under the due process clause, and the petitioners in both cases asserted that the laws violated their constitutional right to privacy. The Court struck down the city zoning ordinance in Moore as violative of the right to privacy, but upheld the state statute in Bowers, finding that there was no right to privacy at play in this case. Amicus curiae participation was quite different in these two cases: only one amicus filed in Moore, but thirteen filed in Bowers. Furthermore, the role of the amicus in Moore was far more muted than was the role of many of the amici filing in Bowers.


MOORE V. CITY OF EAST CLEVELAND

The housing code for the City of East Cleveland barred any group of persons who were not in a “family” from living together; it defined “family” as consisting of the head of a household, his or her spouse, and the unmarried children or parents of the head or spouse. The city found Inez Moore guilty of violating the ordinance, ruling that the

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First among Friends: Interest Groups, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Right to Privacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction: Decision-Making in the U.S. Supreme Court Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Right to Privacy Created: Poe V. Ullman and Griswold V. Connecticut 25
  • 3 - Amici Curiae and the Abortion Debate 53
  • 4 - Amici Curiae and Assistance in Dying 111
  • 5 - Amici Curiae and Protected Relationships 165
  • 6 - Conclusions 193
  • Sources 225
  • Selected Bibliography 235
  • Index 247
  • About the Author 285
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