I think it's cited occasionally by justices like Clarence Thomas, but it seems only when he's in the minority advocating something that most people see as being inline with his Catholicism under the guise of natural law.

Has a majority opinion ever taken in to account the natural moral law (please see encyclopedic definition) that is at odds, circumvents or makes up for lapses in the constitution? Has it ever been used to interpret the constitution?

  • 1
    I'm surprised there isn't a "natural-law" tag yet. – Geremia Jan 14 '17 at 15:28
  • @Geremia Now there is: [natural-law] – Geremia Nov 3 '20 at 3:18

I did not find any instance in which the US Supreme Court has ever used "Natural Moral Law." However, it did use "Moral Law" 13 times.

It has used "Natural Law" 83 times. The most recent in 1996 in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996).

  • "Natural Law" might be the more readily searched term, but people get that confused with laws of gravity and thermodynamics so I figured I'd avoid it in the question. Thanks for the list. I think it usually means the same thing. – Peter Turner Jun 29 '15 at 21:20
  • @PeterTurner are you saying that "natural law", "moral law", and "natural moral law" are conceptually interchangeable in US case law? – New Alexandria Jun 30 '15 at 0:23
  • @NewAlexandria heh, I have no idea, I'm not even remotely an expert in case law. I'm a Catechism teacher, not a constitutional lawyer. I do teach my pupils about Church Law and how it interacts with human law and that's why I wanted to know whether or not Natural Law (which, please don't mock me for saying it because it is the teaching of my church, is the law written on the human heart) has ever been used in supreme court cases to justify anything. – Peter Turner Jun 30 '15 at 13:00
  • In a SCOTUS opinion, "natural law" is very likely to refer to the legal theory and not to a law of nature. – ohwilleke Nov 4 '20 at 19:56

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