Sunday, March 25, 2012

Griswold v. Connecticut case brief

Griswold v. Connecticut case brief summary
381 U.S. 479 (1965)

-Defendants, a director of medical clinic and a doctor, challenged a decision from the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut, which convicted them of violating a state law that prohibited the dispensing or use of birth control devices to or by married couples.
-Defendants appealed from their convictions under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-32 (rev. 1958) as accessories.
-They contended that the application of the accessory statute, which was Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-196 (rev. 1958), violated the Fourteenth Amendment. 

-The appellate court affirmed their convictions, as did the state supreme court.

On further appeal, the Court first held that as accessories, defendants had standing to challenge the substantive law and to raise the constitutional rights of the married people with whom they had a professional relationship.

In examining the United States Constitution, the Court found a right of privacy implicit in the Third Amendment's prohibition against the quartering of soldiers, the Fourth Amendment's right of people to be secure in their persons, the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination, and the Ninth Amendment's right to retain rights not enumerated in the Constitution.

-The right of privacy to use birth control measures was found to be a legitimate one. 

-Thus, the Court concluded that Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-32 (rev. 1958) was unconstitutional.

OUTCOME: The Court reversed defendants' convictions.

Black, Stewart dissented b/c they wanted a more literal reading of the Constitution.

Douglas cited the following amendments: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 14th. He reasoned that since the Constitution in various specifics of the Bill of Rights and the penumbra protect rights which partake of privacy, it protects other aspects of privacy as well. Since the rights emanate from specific fundamental rights, it gets strict scrutiny. Infringement of this penumbra of rights is suspect b/c it comes from these fundamental rights.

Is this Lochner under another name?
He is trying to avoid the substantive due process, which is why he doesn’t mention Lochner.

Justice Goldberg also failed to mention substantive due process. Only White, Harlan took on substantive due process clause head on saying that the statute was a violation.

Argument that if Douglas had grounded his argument in 1st A. associational rights, this would be a stronger doctrinal basis today for some of the hotly disputed issues re: sexuality.

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