GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

1645 however a statute that prohibited the dispensing

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1645 However, a statute that prohibited the dispensing of contracep- tive devices to single persons for birth control but not for disease prevention purposes and that contained no limitation on dispensa- tion to married persons was held to violate the Equal Protection Clause on several grounds. On the basis of the right infringed by the limitation, the Court saw no rational basis for the state to dis- tinguish between married and unmarried persons. Similarly, the ex- emption from the prohibition for purposes of disease prevention nul- lified the argument that the rational basis for the law was the deterrence of fornication, the rationality of which the Court doubted in any case. 1646 Also denying equal protection was a law affording married parents, divorced parents, and unmarried mothers an op- portunity to be heard with regard to the issue of their fitness to continue or to take custody of their children, an opportunity the Court decided was mandated by due process, but presuming the un- fitness of the unmarried father and giving him no hearing. 1647 Punishment of Crime. —Equality of protection under the law implies that in the administration of criminal justice no person shall be subject to any greater or different punishment than another in similar circumstances. 1648 Comparative gravity of criminal offenses is, however, largely a matter of state discretion, and the fact that some offenses are punished with less severity than others does not 1644 Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528 (1973) (also questioning rationality). 1645 Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56 (1972). The Court did invalidate one provi- sion of the law requiring tenants against whom an eviction judgment had been en- tered after a trial to post a bond in double the amount of rent to become due by the determination of the appeal, because it bore no reasonable relationship to any valid state objective and arbitrarily distinguished between defendants in eviction actions and defendants in other actions. Id. at 74–79. 1646 Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972). 1647 Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 658 (1972). 1648 Pace v. Alabama, 106 U.S. 583 (1883). See Salzburg v. Maryland, 346 U.S. 545 (1954), sustaining law rendering illegally seized evidence inadmissible in pros- ecutions in state courts for misdemeanors but permitting use of such evidence in one county in prosecutions for certain gambling misdemeanors. Distinctions based on county areas were deemed reasonable. In North v. Russell, 427 U.S. 328 (1976), the Court sustained the provision of law-trained judges for some police courts and lay judges for others, depending upon the state constitutional classification of cities according to population, since as long as all people within each classified area are treated equally, the different classifications within the court system are justifiable.
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