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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ACLU Defends Larry Craig

posted by on January 16 at 8:59 AM

In a brief filed in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the ACLU is arguing that arresting Sen. Larry Craig for trying to pick someone up in a bathroom violates his civil rights.

They make two key arguments. First, the government has no compelling interest in prohibiting someone from hitting on someone else. The ACLU argues in its brief:

The government does not have a constitutionally sufficient justification for making private sex a crime. It follows that an invitation to have private sex is constitutionally protected and may not be made a crime. This is so even where the proposition occurs in a public place, whether in a bar or in a restroom.

Second, they point out that the sting went too far. If, as the arresting charges against Craig claim, the Senator had no business contacting someone in the stall next to him—the charges alleged that he looked into a “place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy” —then didn’t the cops violate Craig’s privacy?

I’m glad the ACLU is weighing in and defending Craig’s right to hit on somebody.

It’s satisfying that a Republican Senator was exposed for being a giant hypocrite, but it’s terrifying that the state can bust you for flirting.

RSS icon Comments


That's something that always bothered me about that story as well.

Posted by Vasya | January 16, 2008 9:01 AM


His re-election chances were already close to zero--how much more can an implicit ACLU endorsement cost him with an Idaho electorate?

I'm sure that even if he doesn't run again, he's going to want to select his successor. How can one run fast enough from Larry Craig?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 16, 2008 9:05 AM

It would be hard to run away from Larry Craig.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 16, 2008 9:05 AM

It is also great that a conservative is being defended by the ACLU.

I love the ACLU.

Posted by Mike in MO | January 16, 2008 9:06 AM

Now just stop it, Poe.

Where do you draw the line? The Crypt-Keeper?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 16, 2008 9:16 AM

I was having so much fun gleefully laughing at the karma of Larry Craig's hypocrisy that I tended to ignore the constitutional issues.

But the ACLU has it right, as usual. You can make a legitimate argument that engaging in sex or prostitution in a public restroom should be illegal (we might not all agree with that, but it is a fair argument). But all hypocrisy aside, Larry Craig did neither. He merely propositioned someone. He flirted. It is only speculation to assume that anything further might have happened.

So the ACLU gets major points for defending our right to flirt, while at the same time continuing to make Larry Craig look like a complete tool. Yay!

Posted by Reverse Polarity (formerly SDA in SEA) | January 16, 2008 9:30 AM

And that, my friends, is why the ACLU is such a kickass org. Go ACLU!

Posted by NaFun | January 16, 2008 9:43 AM

I was joking, Napoleon! Come on, dude is fat and ugly.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 16, 2008 9:43 AM

i'm glad the ACLU is on this. they mean business. there are many libertarian ideas i like, and they seem to be the ones championed by them.

Posted by infrequent | January 16, 2008 9:44 AM

it wasn't private sex that he was soliciting. it was public sex. I'm ok with the state attempting to stop people from having sex in public restrooms.

Posted by blank12357 | January 16, 2008 10:00 AM

@ 10 So you must be peering into people's stalls to make this a public act.
This ACLU stand will not get much public support since a lot of people have repressed potty/pee shy issues and therefore the end justifies the means.

Posted by Touring | January 16, 2008 10:11 AM
the charges alleged that he looked into a “place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy” —then didn’t the cops violate Craig’s privacy?

I'd say no. Craig looked into the cop's stall first. He initiated the violation of another person's privacy and on those grounds alone, he deserved to be prosecuted. If a man entered a women's restroom and peered into the stalls, do you really think he should be defended?

Posted by keshmeshi | January 16, 2008 10:32 AM

Wasn't there a ruling in the U.K. a few years back that "cottaging" is not illegal because the participants can expect privacy in the stall?

Posted by Johnny | January 16, 2008 10:34 AM

This has bothered me about the Craig story from the start. While I think it's probably pretty reasonable to assume he wanted to have sex in the stall, busting him just for making the proposition is bullshit. If the guy weren't such a stupid homophobic douche, he'd have been smart enough to hire a lawyer to say that in the first place instead of pleading guilty.

Posted by Jo | January 16, 2008 10:36 AM

@ 10: 14 has it right. Craig didn't engage in public sex. He almost certainly would have, but he didn't.

This whole sting thing is a scam because by nature someone that is cruising bathrooms won't fight the charge because they are so fucking terrified of anyone finding out, they can't plead guilty fast enough.

Expecting privacy in a public restroom stall is debatable, but busting him for trying (as opposed to geting caught with a big hard cock in his mouth) is bullshit.

Posted by Mike in MO | January 16, 2008 11:14 AM

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