University of Pittsburgh law professor David Garrow -- who won a Pulitzer Prize for Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and contributes to the civil rights trivia discussion here at the faculty lounge -- has a review of Dale Carpenter's Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas in The New Republic. The review begins:
THE SUPREME COURT’S decision striking down state statutes that criminalized gay sex was a constitutional landmark, and will remain famous long after today’s arguments over same-sex marriage come to seem just as antiquated as the early 1960s disputes over racially segregated public accommodations. Lawrence v. Texas, in 2003, arose from an unlikely confluence of unusual circumstances. Dale Carpenter’s assiduous unearthing of the case’s early history in Houston’s overlapping gay and law enforcement communities highlights how every great constitutional decision owes its existence to obscure individuals whose crucial contributions proved more essential to the final outcome than anything in the legal briefs or oral arguments.
Read the rest here.