The Supreme Court Moot Court Part 1 A. Facts of the Case



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The Supreme Court Moot Court Part 1
A. Facts of the Case

Responding to a reported weapons disturbance in a private residence, Houston police entered (due to probable cause-they were ALLOWED to be there) 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 sodomy 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 constitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment says the states have the obligation to uphold the privileges of citizens (due process) and states cannot to deny equal protection of the laws.


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. Precedent

Precedent is an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.



Bowers vs. Hardwick (1985)

Michael Hardwick was observed by a Georgia police officer while engaging in the act of consensual homosexual sodomy with another adult in the bedroom of his home. After being charged with violating a Georgia statute that criminalized sodomy, Hardwick challenged the law. In a 5-4 decision, the divided Court found that there was no constitutional protection for acts of sodomy, and that states could outlaw those practices.



Romer vs. Evans (1995)

Colorado voters adopted an amendment to their State Constitution allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the amendment of the Colorado State Constitution violated the federal Constitution. The amendment singled out homosexual and bisexual persons, imposing on them a broad disability by denying them the right to seek and receive specific legal protection from discrimination.




How would you describe the precedent of

Bowers vs. Hardwick? (Facts and SCOTUS decision)

How would you describe the precedent of

Romer vs. Evans? (Facts and SCOTUS decision)







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 Johnson and Danson (You believe the law is BAD)

You will need to come up with 2 reasons why the Texas law is unconstitutional. Find one amendment and one precedent 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 Texas (You believe the law is GOOD)

You will need to come up with 2 reasons why the Texas law is constitutional. Find one amendment and one precedent to help you prove your case. Be prepared to answer questions from the Supreme Court.


You Are: _____________________________________________________________________________
Brief (a written legal document that is presented to a court arguing why one party to a particular case should prevail):

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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?





What were the arguments for Johnson and Danson?





What were the questions from the Supreme Court?





What did the Class Supreme Court decide?




The Supreme Court Moot Court Part 2
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

“It's been eight years since the Supreme Court officially knocked down anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas, but Texas' state legislature has thus far refused to remove the law from the books—in large part because most Texas Republicans still support it. In 2010, the state GOP made defense of the anti-sodomy statute part of its platform, calling for the state to effectively ignore the law of the land: ‘We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.’ Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, dismissed the Lawrence decision as the product of ‘nine oligarchs in robes’ (never mind that it was a 6–3 decision). But Texas isn't the only state that's still legislating bedroom activity. Fourteen states currently have laws on the books outlawing anal sex between two consenting, unrelated adults…”



- Mother Jones (April 2011)

“The Louisiana House of Representatives rejected legislation… that would remove the state's symbolic ban on certain kinds of sodomy… Louisiana's anti-sodomy law was overturned and declared unconstitutional in 2003, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling such state statutes could not be enforced. Still, the Legislature has been unwilling to officially strike (remove) the measure from state law, even though it can't be used as a cause for arrest…. [Letters were sent] to every legislator urging them to vote against the proposal, claiming that teenagers would be less protected from sexual predators if they went through with the repeal. They also said the bill would put the public health at risk. ‘Louisiana's anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy and immoral,’ stated the letter to lawmakers …During a floor discussion of the bill, the legislation's sponsor, Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith [said] the bill only seeks to repeal a statute (law) that is already unconstitutional, she said.”



- The Times-Picayune (April 2014)
How have states reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling?

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