Tuesday, January 30, 2007

San Francisco v. Lawrence

In the 2003 Supreme Court Lawrence v. Texas decision upending every anti-sodomy statute in the country, the nation's highest court ruled that the Constitution's implied right to privacy precluded lawmakers from legislating sexual activity in the confines of a private residence. A debatable proposition, perhaps -- but, now, standing precedent.

More recently, members of a San Francisco suburb City Council unanimously voted to pass the most restrictive smoking ban in the world, effectively outlawing smoking entirely, even in private residences. The only places where smoking would still be allowed are single-family homes that are not part of condos/co-ops/apartment buildings.

Unlike New York and other areas where liberty is taken for granted, Belmont residents revolted, challenging whether these lawmakers should be able to legislate personal behavior in private places.

Which raises an interesting question. If the City Council stands firm, pressing ahead with one of the most brazen subjugations of liberty in modern American history, are these Bay Area legislators prepared to argue before federal courts that the Supreme got it wrong in Lawrence v. Texas?

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