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A Page Turning Examination,
This review is from: Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas (Hardcover)Back in 2003, the Supreme Court reversed a seventeen year long decision by affirming the right for a group of people to engage in consensual sexual conduct in the privacy of their own home. The decision was a moment of elation and celebration; the timing, coming on the heels of pride weekend across the country, fueled joy that the gay community had finally had the right to step out from under discriminatory laws. What was even more amazing, after reading Dale Carpenter's new book, "Flagrant Conduct", was how little did I know of the case that inspired this change in our country.
Although I'm not a lawyer, I've read quite a number of books on the Supreme Court, very interested in the nine people that make so many important decisions that affect our country. Carpenter's book is one of the best, for many reasons. Carpenter knows his audience. Throughout some potentially murky Constitutional waters, he doesn't ever get bogged down by legalese or technicalities that may lose the lay reader like myself. When warranted, he takes time out to explain issues in a clear, focused way that makes the issues at hand (equal protection, due process clause) truly understandable.
The tour de force of the book, however, happens early on in the book, examining the case itself. Interviewing John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner for the book, as well as various deputies, judges, and attorneys involved with the case. He shares everyone's insights equally, even ones that are particularly painful (from the arresting deputies). Although he allows people to speak for themselves, he also argues certain conclusions and findings equally as well. At the end of the day, we realize how little we actually know about what happened in Lawrence's apartment that night, and yet, it doesn't take one thing away from the impact of the case.
And when it comes to Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy's turn to read the outcome of this case, the decision, and the reaction is stunning. It truly was a hallmark day in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans across the country. This book is an examination and a celebration of the event, and I simply could not put it down. This is a must read.