Acting Out The Supreme Court Day 1 and 2 A. Facts of the Case



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Acting Out The Supreme Court Day 1 and 2
A. Facts of the Case

Responding to a reported weapons disturbance in a private residence, Houston police entered (due to probable cause) John Johnson’s apartment and saw him and another adult man, Dan Danson engaging in a private, consensual sexual act. Johnson and Danson were arrested and convicted of deviate sexual intercourse in violation of a Texas statute forbidding two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct. The State Court of Appeals held that the law was not unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


What are the facts of the case?

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B. Question of the Case

Do the criminal convictions of John Johnson and Dan Danson under the Texas "Homosexual Conduct" law, which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples, violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of laws? Do their criminal convictions for adult consensual sexual intimacy in the home violate their vital interests in liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?


What are the questions of the case? (In your own words)

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C. Amendments

14th Amendment – All persons born or naturalized in the United Sates and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are made citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside, and the States are forbidden from making or enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, or deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


What does the 14th Amendment say?

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Task: Each of you will be receiving a specific role for the case of Johnson and Danson vs. Texas

Remember that the Supreme Court does not decide if a person is guilty or innocent but decides if the law is constitutional or unconstitutional. This is called JUDICIAL REVIEW.



- Supreme Court Justice

You will need to come up with 5 questions (total) which you want to ask the lawyers after they present their cases. Remember you are deciding whether the law is good or bad.



- Lawyers for the Defendants (You believe the law is BAD)

You will need to come up with 2 reasons why the Texas law is unconstitutional. Find two amendments to help you prove your case. Make sure you follow the facts of the case. Be prepared to answer questions from the Supreme Court.



- Lawyers for the Plaintiff (You believe the law is GOOD)

You will need to come up with 2 reasons why the Texas law is constitutional. Find two amendments to help you prove your case. Make sure you follow the facts of the case. Be prepared to answer questions from the Supreme Court.



You Are: _____________________________________________________________________________

Your Arguments or Questions:

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D. Class Conclusion

You will have to take notes while your classmates are presenting. Remember you don’t need to copy every word they say – just the most important things.


What were the arguments against Johnson and Danson?

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What were the arguments for Johnson and Danson?

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What were the questions from the Supreme Court?

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What did the Class Supreme Court decide?

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Acting Out The Supreme Court Day 3
E. Conclusion

The real name of the case is called Lawrence and Garner vs. Texas

Decision: 6 votes for Lawrence and Garner, 3 votes against
In a 6-3 opinion, the Court held that the Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process Clause; making is UNCONSTIUTIONAL. The Court reasoned that the case turned on whether Lawrence and Garner were free as adults to engage in the private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause.
"Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government…The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.”

- Justice Kennedy.


What was the decision of the Supreme Court?

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F. Supreme Court’s Power

“LGBT people are welcome at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month … Russian President Vladimir Putin says. Putin told a group of Olympic volunteers that Russia’s controversial ban on ‘gay propaganda’ was not discriminatory and that the U.S. had far worse laws against LGBT people, Russian state media reported. ‘We don’t have a ban on non-traditional forms of sexual interaction between people, we have a ban against promoting homosexuality and pedophilia to minors, against propaganda,’ Putin said… ‘They’re totally different things - a ban on something and a ban on promoting that thing,’ he added. Russia’s law, which Putin signed in June, essentially bans any positive or neutral mention of gay people in any public setting….

‘We’re not banning anything. We’re not grabbing anyone [off the street]. We don’t have any [criminal] penalties for these relations, unlike many other countries of the world, I want to stress, including the U.S., where some states have criminal penalties for non-traditional sexual orientation,’ Putin continued.

… Putin was evidently referring to the sodomy laws in 14 states invalidated by a 2003 Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas. The laws remain on the books until the states repeal them, but are no longer enforceable. Recently, Russian officials have responded to criticism over the ‘propaganda’ law by saying the situation in Western countries is the same or worse than in Russia…”



- BuzzFeed (January 2014)

How have states reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling?

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