Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the State is not omnipresent in the home. And there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence. Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.
Justice Scalia majority in Employment division v. Smith: "To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself." Law = generally applicable, Court had held that religious beliefs did not excuse people from complying with laws forbidding polygamy, child labor laws, Sunday closing laws, laws requiring citizens to register for Selective Service, and laws requiring the payment of Social Security taxes.
Holmes speaking for unanimous majority in Schenck v. United States: "The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent." During wartime, utterances tolerable in peacetime can be punished.
Justice Bradley concurring with Miller majority in Bradwell v. Illinois: "The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life... The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator."
Virginia v. Black (2002) - Justice O'Connor in majority argues that the prima facie provision permits the state to proscribe cross burning regardless of the "intent to intimidate", and, in doing so, risks to create "an unacceptable risk of the suppression of ideas." While agreeing that cross-burning may arouse "a sense of anger and hatred", Justice O'Conner states that contextual factors need to be analyzed in deciding whether the "intent to intimidate" was actually present.
Justice Souter dissent - says same as R.A.V. v City of St. Paul. (content-based discrimination, i.e. the targeting of individuals who "provoke violence" on a basis specified in the law, is unconstitutional) Souter agrees with the majority's judgment on the unconstitutionality of the Virginia statute, but argues that the implicit content-based distinctions of the statute render the legislation invalid regardless of the prima facie provision. Cross burning "selects a symbol with particular content from the field of all proscribable expression meant to intimidate."
Cruzan v. Missouri - Majority Rehnquist assert an unqualified interest in the preservation of human life to be weighed against the constitutionally protected interests of the individual" without making judgments concerning the "quality of life" of that individual. Accordingly, the Court argues that the "clear and convincing" requirement is a constitutional means of protecting these interests of the state.
Scalia dissent "'there is no significant support for the claim that a right to suicide is so rooted in our tradition that it may be deemed 'fundamental' or 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty'"
Brennan (with Marshall and Blackmun), dissenting: the State has no legitimate general interest in someone's life, completely abstracted from the interest of the person living that life, that could outweigh the person's choice to avoid medical treatment."