Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eisenstadt v. Baird case brief

Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972)
Law prohibiting distribution of contraceptive to unmarried persons struck down. A right needs to be granted/regulated equally, right to privacy is an individual right, not a right solely allowed to a married couple as an entity. Court said using rational basis test, but was really heightened scrutiny. Broadened notion of privacy, no longer limited to marriage and the home. Brennan said this was a violation of the rights of single people under EP, rights must be the same for married/unmarried people.

Extension of
Griswold: Griswold dealt mainly w/married, Eisenstadt “uncoupled” the right from a married person’s right to an individual, autonomous decision. Connects the right to the individual, not to the married unit. 

Title:Eisenstadt v. Baird
US Citation:405 U.S. 438 (1972)
Events:Argued - November 17, 1971
Decided - March 22, 1972
Subjects:Judicial Power: Standing to Sue, Personal Injury
Facts:William Baird gave away Emko V. Foam to a woman following his Boston University lecture on birth control and over-population. Massachusetts charged Baird with a felony, to distribute contraceptives to unmarried men or women. Under the law, only married couples could obtain contraceptives; only registered doctors or pharmacists could provide them. Baird was not an authorized distributor of contraceptives.
Question Presented:Did the Massachusetts law violate the right to privacy acknowledged in Griswold v. Connecticut and protected from state instrusion by the Fourteenth Amendment?
Conclusion:In a 6-to-1 decision, the Court struck down the Massachusetts law but not on privacy grounds. The Court held that the law's distinction between single and married individuals failed to satisfy the "rational basis test" of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Married couples were entitled to contraception under the Court's Griswold decision. Withholding that right to single persons without a rational basis proved the fatal flaw. Thus, the Court did not have to rely on Griswold to invalidate the Massachusetts statute. "If the right of privacy means anything, wrote Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. for the majority, "it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion tino matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to whether to bear or beget a child."

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