Tuesday, February 27, 2007

S.Ct. denies cert. in polygamy case

The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari yesterday in Holm v. Utah, the appeal of a heretic Mormon polygamist whose polygamy conviction was upheld by the state's highest court. This continues the Supreme Court's consistent refusal to hear any cases concerning the scope of Lawrence v. Texas.

In one sense this is a pity, because the unique "bigamy" statute in Utah -- which actually criminalizes nothing more than cohabitation with a person other than one's spouse -- presents an issue that may be closer to the one in Lawrence than in other post-Lawrence cases it has refused to hear. (The major difference being the state's asserted interest in addressing separate crimes believed to be correlated with polygamy -- also an issue of considerable interest.) Yet denial in this particular case makes perfect sense, because the involvement of a sixteen-year-old in Holm means that the issue of the rights of consenting adults is not squarely presented.

However you feel about the polygamist sects of the American West, or about Utah's law, one may hope that a case comes up that does squarely present this issue, so that maybe we can finally have some guidance on Lawrence.

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