Penumbras and emanations

Penumbras and emanations

James Taranto in today’s Wall Street Journal traces the lineage of the current spate of same-sex marriage rulings by activist judges all the way back to the US Supreme Court’s ruling in 1965 that overturned laws against contraceptives. It’s nothing new to most informed Catholics, but it’s a good primer for those who aren’t familiar with it.

Basically, that case, Griswold v. Connecticut, created the idea of a constitutional right to privacy that doesn’t actually existed in the words of the US Constitution. That was the creation of the idea of marital privacy. The right to use contraceptives was extended to unmarried couples in 1972’s Eisenstadt v. Baird, creating a right to reproductive privacy, which was of course used in 1973’s Roe v. Wade. In 1992, the court set the groundwork for the next phase of expansion with what I think could be the most open-ended and dangerous piece of jurisprudence in the court’s history (in my admittedly limited layman’s opinion), the phrase Justice Antonin Scalia calls “the famed sweet-mystery-of-life passage.”

“Intimate and personal choices,” the justices wrote, are “central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”