History and Proceeding:
case never broke through to the Atlanta, Georgia trial court due to a
preliminary hearing that was in favor of the District Attorney, but later
decided to not present to a grand jury because of the lack of developed
evidence. Hardwick then followed through
to the Federal District Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Hardwick
challenged the Georgia statute that criminalized sodomy stating that it
infringed upon his constitutional rights. The case was appealed and reversed
the ruling of the lower courts. It was then appealed to the U.S Supreme Court asking
a Constitutional question. The U.S.
Supreme Court then issued a writ of certiorari to review the case further and
examine if the Georgia statute is unconstitutional.
Georgia police officers arrived at Hardwick’s residence where they we admitted
inside by a current roommate of the residence.
Officers then discovered Hardwick and another adult male in a bedroom
engaging in oral sex. Further police
investigation revealed that both male had given their full consent to the
act. The event took place in the privacy
of Hardwick’s home and had no consequences to any third party or persons. Both males were over the age of consent and
feelings were on mutual stand point.
Although the police were dispatched to the residence for another
purpose, (later to be determined invalid due to an outdated warrant for the
arrest Hardwick) Hardwick was still charged with violating the Georgia statute
that criminalize sodomy for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.
(1.) Is the Georgia statute law that prohibits
sodomy an infringement upon one’s fundamental rights of privacy? (2.) Was Hardwick strictly targeted by the statute
because of his homosexuality, and if so was he put in a higher risk of arrest
due to it. (3.) Does the U.S. Constitution protect the rights
of homosexual and heterosexual couples to engage in consensual sodomy? (4.) Was the 14th Amendment at any
point violated during the investigation procedure of the case?
Legal Holding or Decision:
The decision of the Supreme Court
was held that the Georgia statute was constitutional and that it did not
infringe upon Hardwick’s rights. The statute
outlawing any form of sodomy was deemed constitutional due to the strong belief
of keeping current morals and obligations.
The idea of allowing consensual sodomy in the privacy of the home left
other questions as to other sexual crimes that could be committed while behind
closed doors. In the court’s ruling, it
was deemed that because the statute was constitution, that at no part was the
14th Amendment violated during the proceeding.
Rationale or Reasoning:
(1.) The Supreme Courts ruling of the Georgia statute
is constitutional and protects moral beliefs of society. (2.) The Georgia statute outlawed all forms of
sodomy and did not specifically target one group of persons’. (3.) During the proceeding, it was identified by
judges that the acts of sodomy was not protected by any part of Constitution and
therefore can be outlawed.