Friday, April 20, 2012
A constitutional right to smoke? (Indonesia)
If somebody had asked me whether any court had upheld a smoker's right to smoke, I'd have guessed no. However, Indonesia's Mahkamah Konstitusi comes pretty close with its most recent decision. This week the court ruled that a government ban on smoking in public spaces must also require public spaces and workplaces to establish "smoking rooms" for anybody who wishes to tar up their lungs. According to The Jakarta Post, in reading the decision out, Chief Justice Mahfud argued that, "should the government fail to provide smoking rooms in state agencies; it would eliminate the right of smokers to smoke." I'm not quite sure where the justices are finding this "right" - it's certainly not in the plain text of the Constitution. If anything, it reminds me of the substantive due process jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court, which established a "penumbra" of privacy rights.