William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


In this Essay, Professor Koppelman argues that, notwithstanding numerous scholarly claims to the contrary, the Supreme Court's decision in Romer v. Evans was based on the invalidated law's impermissible purpose. Professor Koppelman examines the Court's understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment, and concludes that its current doctrine is designed to ferret out unconstitutional intent. Such impermissible intent, Koppelman argues, was evident in the law challenged in Romer. Nonetheless, Koppelman acknowledges, Romer is a hard case, and its precedential significance is unclear, particularly in light of Bowers v. Hardwick, which upheld the constitutionality of laws against homosexual sodomy. Laws that facially disadvantage gays, he argues, will always reflect both impermissible prejudice and permissible moral judgements.