On Monday, advocates of the rights of privacy and expressive association were dealt a pair of blows from the state of South Dakota and the United States Supreme Court. First, South Dakota’s Governor Mike Rounds signed a bill banning virtually all abortions in that state, including cases of rape and incest, in the first direct challenge to the privacy rights outlined in Roe v. Wade since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Second, the Supreme Court overruled a Third Circuit Court decision that struck down the ‘Solomon Amendment’ in Rumsfeld v. FAIR. In their decision, the nation’s high court ruled that forcing law schools to accommodate military recruiters did not violate their rights of ‘expressive association.’
OmniNerds have touched on the issues of both privacy and associative rights recently. On the surface, it seems to be something of a dichotomy that one person could, for example, simultaneously favor less government involvement in personal autonomy and expressive association in the cases of the Boy Scouts, the Kamehameha Schools, and the proposed Catholic town in Florida, and favor more governmental intervention in the case of Yale Law School and abortion. Are these views mutually exclusive, or just logically nuanced? Where should the line be drawn between the individual rights of privacy, personal autonomy, and association and the obligations to life, governmental necessity, and non-discrimination?
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