Sexual Rights in America: The Ninth Amendment and the Pursuit of Happiness / Edition 1

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The Constitution of the United States guarantees all Americans certain rights, such as the freedoms of speech and religious expression. But what guarantees our sexual freedoms?

Sexual Rights in America presents a bold and intriguing look at the constitutional basis of sexual rights in America. Resurrecting the "forgotten" Ninth Amendment, which guarantees those fundamental rights not protected elsewhere in the Constitution, Abramson and colleagues argue that the freedom to choose how, when, and with whom we express ourselves sexually is integral to our happiness. Their careful review of the historical record reveals the importance of the "pursuit of happiness" in the socio-moral philosophy underpinning the Constitution. Sexual freedoms, they assert, are cut from the same cloth as the other freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, and therefore, should be covered by the Ninth Amendment.

Using concrete examples such as prostitution and phone sex, Sexual Rights in America illustrates the scope and limitations of Ninth Amendment sexual rights.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Interesting and well-written. This book presents the 'Long View': an ideal toward which concerned lawyers and judges might strive."

-Kenneth Karst,Professor of Law, UCLA

"The right to love and make love is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, and yet issues surrounding abortion, contraception, marriage, gay sex and sexually explicit speech have absorbed the Supreme Court in countless cases. This frank and lucid book peels the fig leaf off various forms of legal regulation of sexuality, and argues with passion and rich historical detail that individuals should have strong autonomy over their own sexual expression as long as their relationships are gounded in consent. The authors' comprehensive approach makes a considerable contribution to the literature."

-Kathleen Sullivan,Dean, Stanford Law School

"Because sex is so intimate and hidden, few serious scholars defend sexual liberty publicly. Sexual Rights in America bravely fills this void by offering a lucid and serious constitutional defense of this vital aspect of our private lives."

-Randy E. Barnett,Professor of Law, Boston University and author of The Structure of Liberty and Restoring the Lost Constitution

"Sexual Rights in America shows persuasively that the right to sexual expression is grounded in the Constitution, notably in the Ninth Amendment. The friends of pleasure will applaud the book's rigorous and often sexy argument."

-Paul Robinson,Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University, and author of The Modernization of Sex

"This book has an excellent shot at intellectual immortality."

-Donald Symons,author of The Evolution of Human Sexuality and co-founder of Evolutionary Psychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814706923
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 227
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Abramson is Professor of Psychology at UCLA.

Steven D. Pinkerton is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Professor Abramson and Dr. Pinkerton have collaborated on several books, including With Pleasure: Thoughts on the Natures of Human Sexuality

Mark Huppin received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and is currently pursuing his Ph.D in psychology at UCLA.

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Table of Contents

1 Sex and the Constitution 1
2 History and Interpretation of the Ninth Amendment 22
3 The Poverty of Privacy 45
4 A Solid Foundatin for Sexual Rights 66
5 What Can We Learn from Dial-a-Porn? 91
6 Does Prostititution Deserve Constitutional Protection? 111
7 Child Pornography: Black, White, and Gray 138
8 The Past and Future of the Ninth Amendment 165
Notes 187
References 213
Index 221
About the Authors 227
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