Court decision: 'amenities of life'

From the decision of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Lawson v. Kolender:

The (US) Supreme Court has extolled the freedom of locomotion.

Persons ''wandering or strolling'' from place to place have been extolled by Walt Whitman and Vachel Lindsay. The qualification ''without any lawful purpose or object'' may be a trap for innocent acts. . . .

Walkers and strollers and wanderers may be going to or coming from a burglary. Loafers or loiterers may be ''casing'' a place for a holdup. . . .

The difficulty is that these activities (walking or wandering) are historically part of the amenities of life as we have known them. They are not mentioned in the Constitution or in the Bill of Rights. These unwritten amenities have been in part responsible for giving our people the feeling of independence and self-confidence, the feeling of creativity. These amenities have dignified the right of dissent and have honored the right to be nonconformists and the right to defy submissiveness. They have encouraged lives of high spirits rather than hushed, suffocating silence.

They are embedded in Walt Whitman's writings, especially in his ''Song of the Open Road.'' They are reflected, too, in the spirit of Vachel Lindsay's ''I want to Go Wandering,'' and by Henry D. Thoreau.

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