An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

Lawrence v. Texas (2003) held that a criminal prohibition of homosexual sodomy violated the Due Process Clause. The third case, United States v. Windsor (2013), declared unconstitutional portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Lawrence began in Houston, Texas. Police officers were dispatched to a private residence in response to a reported weapons disturbance. The officers observed John Lawrence and another man, Tyron Garner, engaging in a sexual act. They arrested the men and charged them with violating Texas’s ban on “sodomy,” which prohibited sexual acts between members of the same sex. The couple pleaded no contest, and the lower courts upheld their conviction.

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