Griswold+v+Connecticut+_1965_ (1)

Griswold+v+Connecticut+_1965_ (1) - ’TG“ Privacy and...

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Unformatted text preview: ’TG“ Privacy and Personal Relations Griswold 1). Connecticut The notion of a constitutional right to “privacy” matured in a wide variety of cases in the 1960’s and 1970’ s. Decisions involving the Fourth Amendment, “right of association,” among others, all touched on the subject. The new libertarianism of the period particularly stressed the right of privacy in matters involving personal relations between consenting individuals and vigorously opposed governmen- tal intrusion in such matters. Obviously, influences other than abstract constitutional doctrine figured prominently in this concern. In Griswold v. Connecticut, for example, the growing awareness of overpopulation and the need for birth control measures stimulated the drive for privacy. The case involved ofiicials of the Planned Par- enthood League who had given married couples advice on birth control and contraceptive prescriptions. An 1879 state act—“an uncommonly silly law,” as even one of the dissenters in the case, Justice Potter Stewart, described it~prohibited such practices. In a _'concurring opinion, justice Arthur Goldberg sought to locate the “right to privacy” in the seldom-invoked Ninth Amendment. But in the following decade, Goldbergs opinion gained little supp0rt among the other’Iustices or legal commentators, and subsequent pri- vacy cases were decided on more traditional grounds. Justice Douglas delivered the opinion of the Court. e think that appellants have standing to raise the constitutional rights of the married people with whom they had a professional relationship. . . . _ The case is more akin to Truax v. Raich, 239 U. S. 88, where an employee was permitted to assert the rights of his employer; to Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510, where the owners of private schools were 381 U.S. 479 (1965) 645 646 Privacy and Personal Relations entitled to assert the rights. of potential pupils and their parents; and to Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U. S. 249, where a white defendant, party to a racially restrictive covenant, who was being sued for damages by the cov- enantors because she had conveyed her property to Negroes, was allowed , to raise the issue that enforcement of the covenant violated the rights of prospective Negro purchasers to equal protection, although no Negro was a party to the suit. . . . The rights of husband and wife, pressed here, are likely to be diluted or adversely aflected unless those rights are consid— ered in a suit involving those who have this kind of confidential relation to them. . . . The association of people is not mentioned in the Constitution nor in the Bill of Rights. The right to educate a child in a school of the parents’ choice~whether public or private or parochial~is also not mentioned. Nor is the right to study any particular subject or any foreign language. Yet the First Amendment has been construed to include certain of those rights. By Pierce v. Society of Sisters, supra, the right to educate one’s children as one chooseslis made applicable to the States by the force of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. . . . In other words, the State may not, con- sistently with the spirit of the First Amendment, contract the spectrum of available knowledge. The right of freedom of speech and press includes not only the right to utter or to print, but the right to distribute, the right to receive, the right to read (Martin v. Struthers, 319 U. S. 141, 143) and freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom to teach (see VVieman V. Updegrafl, 344 U. S. 183, 195)~indeed the freedom of the entire university community. Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U. S. 234, 249—250, 261—263. . . . Without those peripheral rights the specific rights would be less secure. . . . In NAACP V. Alabama, 357 U. S. 449, 462., we protected the “freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations,” noting that freedom of association was a peripheral First Amendment right. Disclosure of mem- bership lists of a constitutionally valid association, we held, was invalid “as entailing the likelihood of a substantial restraint upon the exercise by petitioner’s members of their right to freedom of association.” Ibid. In other words, the First Amendment has a penumbra where privacy is pro- tected from governmental intrusion. In like context, we have protected forms of “association” that are not political in the customary sense but pertain to the social, legal, and economic benefit of the members. . . . The foregoing cases suggest that specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. . . . Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of association contained in the penumbra 0f the First Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of soldiers “in any house” in time Of Griswold v. Connecticut 647 peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Fifth Amendment in its Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” . . . 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, so often applied by this Court, that a “governmental purpose to control or prevent activities con— stitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of pro— tected freedoms.” NAACP v. Alabama,'377 U. S. 288, 307. Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale'signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship. We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights—older than our political parties, older than our school system. 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 loy- alty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions. Reversed. ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2012 for the course 512 404 taught by Professor Clemens during the Spring '12 term at Rutgers.

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Griswold+v+Connecticut+_1965_ (1) - ’TG“ Privacy and...

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