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CONSTI2 Digest Batch 2

[No. 496; June 7, 1965]
NEW Substantive Due Process: Protection for Liberty Interest in Privacy
PETITIONER: Grisworld; Buxton
RESPONDENT: Connecticut
accessories to the violation of the General Statutes of Connecticut;
of the lower court; SC REVERSED the decision.
1. Griswold is the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood
League of Connecticut. Buxton is a licensed physician and a
professor at the Yale Medical School who served as Medical
Director for the League at its Center in New Haven. They were
2. The arrest was based on the charge that they gave information,
instruction, and medical advice to married persons as to the means
of preventing conception. They examined the wife and prescribed
the best contraceptive device or material for her use. Fees were
usually charged, although some couples were serviced free.
3. The crime charged was based on the statutes whose
constitutionality is involved in the appeal are 53-32 and 54-196 of
the General Statutes of Connecticut.
4. Section 53-32 provides:
"Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument
for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less
than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more
than one year or be both fined and imprisoned."


Section 54-196 provides:

"Any person who assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or
commands another to commit any offense may be prosecuted and
punished as if he were the principal offender."
Grisworld and Buxton were found guilty as accessories and fined
$100 each, against the claim that the accessory statute, as so
applied, violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Appellate Division of the Circuit Court affirmed.

a. WON the law which prohibits the use of contraceptives violates
the right of privacy of married couples.
YES. SC held that the law is unconstitutional and violates the right of
privacy of married couples.
The Fourth and Fifth Amendments were described... as protection against
all governmental invasions "of the sanctity of a man's home and the
privacies of life."
1. The present case, then, concerns a relationship lying within the zone of
privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees. And it
concerns a law which, in forbidding the use of contraceptives, rather than
regulating their manufacture or sale, seeks to achieve its goals by means
having a maximum destructive impact upon that relationship. Such a law
cannot stand in light of the familiar principle that a governmental
purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state
regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily
broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.
2. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully
enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association
that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not
political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet
it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior
3. The principles laid down affect the very essence of constitutional liberty
and security. They reach farther than the concrete form of the case then
before the court, with its adventitious circumstances; they apply to all
invasions on the part of the government and its employees of the
sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of
his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers, that constitutes the essence of
the offence; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal
security, personal liberty and private property, where that right has never
been forfeited by his conviction of some public offence -- it is the invasion
of this sacred right which underlies and constitutes the essence of this

CONSTI2 Digest Batch 2

[No. 70-17; March 22, 1972]
NEW Substantive Due Process: Protection for Liberty Interest in Privacy
PETITIONER: Eisenstadt, Sheriff of Suffolk County
RESPONDENT: William Baird
ASIDE the conviction on the first charge and SUSTAINED the conviction
on the second charge; DISTRICT COURT DISMISSED the petition for a
writ of habeas corpus of respondent; CA REVERSED the dismissal and
GRANTED the writ of discharge of respondent; SC AFFIRMED the
judgment of CA
1. William Baird was convicted at a bench trial in the Massachusetts
Superior Court under Massachusetts General Laws first, for
exhibiting contraceptive articles in the course of delivering a
lecture on contraception to a group of students at Boston
University and, second, for giving a young woman a package of
Emko vaginal foam at the close of his address.
2. That law makes it a felony for anyone to give away a drug,
medicine, instrument, or article for the prevention of conception
except in the case of (1) a registered physician administering or
prescribing it for a married person or (2) an active registered
pharmacist furnishing it to a married person presenting a registered
physician's prescription.
3. In 1969, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously
set aside the conviction for exhibiting contraceptives on the ground
that it violated Baird's First Amendment rights, but by a four-tothree vote sustained the conviction for giving away the foam.
4. In 1970, Baird subsequently filed a petition for a federal writ of
habeas corpus, which the District Court dismissed.
5. On appeal, however, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
vacated the dismissal holding that the statute is a prohibition on
contraception per se and conflicts "with fundamental human
rights" under Griswold v. Connecticut and remanded the action
with directions to grant the writ discharging Baird.
6. The Sheriff of Suffolk County, Massachusetts now filed an appeal
to the Supreme Court. He argued that appellee lacks standing to

assert the rights of unmarried persons denied access to

contraceptives because he was neither an authorized distributor
under the statute nor a single person unable to obtain
a. WON an unmarried can invoke the right to privacy under the Equal
Protection Clause at the case at bar.
YES. SC held that the unmarried has the right to privacy at the case at
Whatever the rights of the individual to access to contraceptives may
be, the rights must be the same for the unmarried and the married
alike. If under Griswold the distribution of contraceptives to married
persons cannot be prohibited, a ban on distribution to unmarried persons
would be equally impermissible. It is true that in Griswold the right of
privacy in question inhered in the marital relationship. Yet the marital
couple is not an independent entity with a mind and heart of its own,
but an association of two individuals each with a separate intellectual
and emotional makeup. The constitutionally protected right of privacy
inheres in the individual, not the marital couple. If the right of privacy
means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be
free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so
fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or
beget a child.
On the other hand, if Griswold is no bar to a prohibition on the distribution
of contraceptives, the State could not, consistently with the Equal Protection
Clause, outlaw distribution to unmarried but not to married persons.

CONSTI2 Digest Batch 2

[No. 70-18; January 22, 1973]
NEW Substantive Due Process: Protection for Liberty Interest in Privacy
PETITIONER: Jane Roe; Dr. Hubert Hallford (intervening)
RESPONDENT: Wade, District Attorney of Texas
RULING: 3 JUDGE DISTRICT COURT declared the Texas Criminal
Abortion Law VOID and DISMISSED the application of petitioners for
injunctive relief; SC held that the Texas Criminal Abortion Law is
1. In March 1970, Jane Roe instituted a federal action against the
District Attorney of the Texas county. She sought a declaratory
judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were
unconstitutional on their face, and an injunction restraining the
defendant from enforcing the statutes.
2. Roe, alleged that she wished to terminate her pregnancy by an
abortion; that she was unable to get a "legal" abortion in Texas; and
that she could not afford to travel to another jurisdiction in order to
secure a legal abortion. She claimed that the Texas statutes were
unconstitutionally vague and that they abridged her right of
personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and
Fourteenth Amendments.
3. Dr. Hallford, licensed physician, who had 2 state abortion
prosecutions pending against him, was permitted to intervene. He
alleged that the statutes were vague and uncertain, in violation of
the Fourteenth Amendment, and that they violated his own and his
patients' rights to privacy in the doctor-patient relationship and his
own right to practice medicine.
4. John and Mary Doe, a childless married couple, separately attacked
the laws, basing alleged injury on the future possibilities of
contraceptive failure, pregnancy, unpreparedness for parenthood,
and impairment of the wife's health.
5. A three-judge District Court, which consolidated the actions, held
that Roe and Hallford, and members of their classes, had standing
to sue and presented justiciable controversies. But the Does had
failed to allege facts sufficient to state a present controversy and
did not have standing.



The District Court ruled that declaratory relief (not the injunctive)
was warranted and declared the abortion statutes void as vague and
overbroadly infringing those plaintiffs' Ninth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. The court then held that abstention was
warranted with respect to the requests for an injunction.
Appellants directly appealed to the Supreme Court on the
injunctive rulings, and appellee cross-appealed from the District
Court's grant of declaratory relief to Roe and Hallford.

a. WON the right of the petitioners liberty in privacy found on the
14th Amendments Due Process Clause includes abortion
YES. SC held that the right of privacy is broad enough to cover the
abortion decision; that the right, nonetheless, is not absolute and is
subject to some limitations.
1. SC has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of
certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. This
right of privacy is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision
whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the
State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice
altogether is apparent. Specific and direct harm medically diagnosable
even in early pregnancy may be involved. Maternity, or additional
offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future.
Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be
taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated
with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a
family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. All
these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will
consider in consultation.
2. Petitioner's arguments that Texas either has no valid interest at all in
regulating the abortion decision, or no interest strong enough to
support any limitation upon the woman's sole determination, are
unpersuasive. The Court's decisions recognizing a right of privacy also
acknowledge that some state regulation in areas protected by that right
is appropriate. As noted above, a State may properly assert important

CONSTI2 Digest Batch 2

interests in safeguarding health, in maintaining medical standards, and in

protecting potential life. The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be
said to be absolute.