A Thought On Defending the Right of Commerce

From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a challenge to
Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys, ending a nine-year legal battle
and sending a warning to store owners to clean off their shelves.

An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as
an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the
Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court
ruling that upheld the law.

Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and
Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First
Amendment free speech grounds.

"My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up," she said.

The appeals court made this distinction:

Williams had asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the
11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found Alabama's law was not
affected by a U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down Texas' sodomy
law.

The
Texas sodomy law involved private conduct, while the Alabama law
regulated commercial activity, the appeals court judges said. Public
morality was an insufficient government interest in the Texas case but
was sufficient in the Alabama case, they said.

Now, I don't in any way shape or form see any differences between "private conduct" and "commerce."  How in the hell can sexual decisions between consenting adults be any different, legally, than commercial transactions between consenting adults.  It is a distinction that socialists have been succesful in introducing in the US, and to which many now cling.

The interesting part is to consider the folks who are fighting the sex toy ban.  My wild guess, which may be off the mark, is that this is not a bunch of Christian conservative Republicans.  My guess is that these folks are probably a bit left of center, and further, that many of them accept and support the notion that the government has every right to regulate dirty old commerce, but no right to regulate one's "private life."  Well, maybe now it will be clearer, at least to some, how dangerous this distinction is.   As a parting note, it has been two years now since we saw the irony of left-leaning members of the Supreme Court overrule state laws allowing medical marijuana use based on the commerce clause.

  • http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2007/09/more-on-educati.html Greg

    Well, there is no right to privacy anywhere in the constitution.

    There is no logical right to privacy. Or else we could argue that we have to right to do various illegal acts in the privacy of our bedrooms.

    States do have certain rights, though, not granted to the Feds. Personally, I don't think states or the Fed should be poking their noses into sex toys, but I'm not sure that a state can't up and legally decide to ban them.

    And the idea that selling such toys is "free speech" is silly. You could use that argument to support selling anything.

  • http://cdquarles.wordpress.com Charles D. Quarles

    You can buy sex toys in Alabama. You can possess sex toys in Alabama. You simply certify that you are buying them for any purpose other than sexual gratification (ie medical or educational). The owner of said Decatur business is still in business and her business is expanding every year. She is suing simply to force a change in Alabama law that voids the sexual gratification language, even though everyone knows that most of the sales are for sexual gratification. I am not aware of any perjury prosectutions in Alabama based upon the certification the State of Alabama requires.

  • http://www.bonkum.com Bonkum

    This is completely ridiculous. It amazes me that in this day and age laws are being made that are totally archaic. The problem is not that MOST people in a state like AL think sex toys should be banned... it's just that the closed minded fools are the law makers. Not to mention, this is happening in a state where teen pregnancy and domestic violence is RAMPANT. They should spend more time making laws that protect their citizens and not ones that censor or judge a person's sexual practices. Oh well, I guess they will just have to order sex toys online or move out of the backwoods!