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Intersection of Modern Constitutional Law and Traditional Family Law

Grisworld v Connecticut

Facts

1. Griswold (Executive Director of Plant Parenthood League of Connecticut and its medical doctor) was convicted for
giving married persons information and medical advice on how to prevent conception prescribing
contraceptives against a Connecticut statute appellants claimed that the statute violated the 14th
amendment and they have standing based on their professional relationship with married people they advised
2. 53-32 and 54-196 of the General Statutes of Connecticut
a. Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing concep- tion
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
b. "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
3. Standing or locus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to
and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case.

Issues/Ratio

1. Do the appellants have standing to assert the constitutional rights of married people?
a. Yes because he should have a standing to assert that the offense he is charged with assisting is not, or
cannot constitutionally be, a crime.
b. Truax v Raich employee was permitted to asset the right of his employers, Pierce v Society of Sisters the
owners of the private schools were to asset the right of potential pupils and parents
c. Tileston v Ullman different because the plaintiff is seeking to represent others asked for a declaratory
judgement (legal determination of a court that resolves legal uncertainty for the litigants)
2. Are 53-32 and 54-196 of the General Statutes of Connecticut unconstitutional because it violated the 14th
amendment?
a. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the
United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process
of law...nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws
b. First amendment - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably
to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
c. Due process clause procedural (procedures) and substantive (principle which allows federal courts to
protect certain fundamental rights from government interference)
d. It operates directly on an intimate relation of husband and wife and their physicians role in one aspect of
that relation
e. The association of people is not mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of rights. The right to educate a
child in a school of the parents choice is also not mentioned, yet the First Amendment has been
construed to include that right.
f. Pierce v Society of Sisters the right to educate ones children as one chooses is made applicable to the
States by the force of the First and 14th amendment and Meyer v Nebraska in learning the German
language in a private school the State may not contract the spectrum of available knowledge
g. The right of freedom of speech and press includes the right to read and freedom of inquiry, though and
teach without those peripheral rights, the specific rights would be less secure
h. NAACP v Alabama protected the freedom to associate and privacy in ones associations First
amendment has a penumbra where privacy is protected from government intrusion, including
associations extends to all irrespective of their race and ideology and includes the right to express
ones attitude or philosophies by membership in a group form of expression of opinion
i. In other words, the "spirit" of the First Amendment (free speech), Third Amendment (prohibition on the
forced quartering of troops), Fourth Amendment (freedom from searches and seizures), Fifth
Amendment (freedom from self-incrimination), and Ninth Amendment (other rights) protected by
the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protection of fundamental personal liberties
j. Present case concerns a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental
constitutional guarantees a law which forbids the use of contraceptives rather than regulating the
production seeks to achieve its goals by having a maximum impact on the relationship cannot stand in
light in the principle: 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

Ruling

1. Appellants have standing to assert the constitutional rights of the married people
2. The Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy which is within the
penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights

Eisenstadt v Baird

Facts

1. Baird was convicted of violating the Massachusetts law for giving a lecture on contraception and a woman a
contraceptive foam at the close of his lecture to students on contraception. Law makes it a felony for anyone to
give away a drug or any instrument for the prevention of conception except
a. A registered physician giving it to a married person
b. Registered pharmacist giving it to a married person as per the physicians prescription
2. He petitioned a writ of Habeas Corpus (recourse in law whereby a person can report an unlawful detention or
imprisonment before a court) but it was dismissed by the first district court overturned by the CA holding the
same ruling in Grisworld v Connecticut (statute conflicts with fundamental human rights) by providing
dissimilar treatment for married and unmarried persons who are similarly situated it violates the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
3. Eisenstadt argued that Baird lacks standing to assert the rights of unmarried person denied access to
contraceptives neither an authorized distributor or single person
4. Baird filed a suit claiming that the Massachusetts Law was unconstitutional to the State Supreme Judicial Court.

Issues/Ratio

1. Is the Massachusetts General Law Ann 272 Sec 21 and 21A where Baird was convicted unconstitutional?
a. The State Supreme Judicial Court interprets that the provisions make it felony for anyone other than a
physician and pharmacist to dispense any article with the intention that it be used for the prevention of
contraception.
b. The purpose is unclear Commonwealth v Braid is for the prevention of articles designed to prevent
conception which may have undesirable consequences Sturgis v Attorney General is to protect morals
through regulating the private sexual lives of single persons
c. CA did not consider these reasons and concluded that the goal was to limit contraception conflicted
with the fundamental human rights under Grisworld and Connecticut violates the equal protection
clause of the 14th amendment
2. Does Baird have standing to assert the constitutional rights of these unmarried people?
a. There can be no question, of course, that Baird has sufficient interest in challenging the statute's validity
to satisfy the "case or controversy" requirement of Article III of the Constitution.
b. However, the CA held that the statute was not a health measure no reason how Baird may be
prevented because he was not a doctor or druggist
c. Unlike Griswolrd v Connecticut, Braid had no aiding-and-abetting relationship with the student from
Boston U but it is a relationship between one who acted to protect the rights of a minority and the
minority itself (Brown v Jackson)
3. Merits Equal Protection Clause
a. The Equal Protection Clause of that amendment does, however, deny to States the power to legislate that
different treatment be accorded to persons placed by a statute into different classes on the basis of
criteria wholly un- related to the objective of that statute is there some ground that rationally explains
the difference in treatment for married and unmarried people? NO
i. Purpose of the law was to protect purity these require different remedies in Williamson v Lee
Optical Co cannot be considered by the state as the purpose of the Massachusetts law
pregnancy and the birth of an unwanted child as punishment for fornication
ii. Justice Golberg on Grisworld v Connecticut the justification for the statute is dubious because
the contraceptives are available in the State for unmarried and married for the prevention of the
disease, not prevention of conception cannot deter the married persons from engaging in illicit
sexual raltions with unmarried persons
iii. Punishment for fornicator is 90 days vs Punishment for providing contraceptives is 5 years
b. Section 21A was added to serve the health needs of the community by regulating the distribution of
potentially harmful articles but it was under the chapter dealing with Crimes Against Chastity,
Morality, Decency and Good Order.
i. It was cast only in terms of morals. If it were about health, it would be both discriminatory and
overboard because if there was a need for a physician and pharmacist to give the contraceptives,
then it must apply to both married and unmarried.
ii. The same physician that can prescribe to married people is incompetent to prescribe to
unmarried people
c. If the Massachusetts statute cannot be upheld as a deterrent to fornication or as a health measure, may it,
nevertheless, be sustained simply as a prohibition on contraception?
i. led inevitably to the conclusion that, so far as morals are concerned, it is contraceptives per se that
are considered immoralto the extent that Griswold will permit such a declaration
ii. If under Griswold the distribution of contraceptives to married persons cannot be permitted it
must be the same for married persons the right of privacy means anything individual
married or single unwarranted government intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a
person as the decision whether to bear a child
iii. Dissimilar treatment for married and unmarried violation of equal protection clause

Ruling

1. The judgement of the CA is affirmed.