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University of Michigan Law School

Civil Rights and Discrimination

2005

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Brown And Lawrence (And Goodridge), Michael J. Klarman Dec 2005

Brown And Lawrence (And Goodridge), Michael J. Klarman

Michigan Law Review

One year shy of the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the Justices issued another equality ruling that is likely to become a historical landmark. In Lawrence v. Texas, the Court invalidated a state law that criminalized same-sex sodomy. This article contrasts these historic rulings along several dimensions, with the aim of shedding light on how Supreme Court Justices decide cases and how Court decisions influence social reform movements. Part I juxtaposes Brown and Lawrence to illustrate how judicial decisionmaking often involves an uneasy reconciliation of traditional legal sources with broader social and political mores and the personal ...