Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eisenstadt v. Baird case brief

Eisenstadt v. Baird case brief summary
405 U.S. 438 (1972)

SYNOPSIS: Appellee sheriff sought review of an order of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacating the district court's order dismissing appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his conviction, under Mass. Gen. Law Ann. ch. 272, § 21, for distributing contraceptive foam to an unmarried woman.

-Appellant was convicted of, among other things, giving foam to an unmarried woman at the close of a lecture, a violation of Mass. Gen. Law Ann. ch. 272, § 21.
-The district court dismissed appellant's petition for habeas corpus relief, but the circuit court vacated the district court's order, and remanded with instructions to grant the writ.

-The Court affirmed the circuit court's order.
-Appellant had standing to assert the rights of unmarried people to access the contraception because he served as an advocate for this third-party right.

-In so ruling, the Court emphasized that the reason for giving away the foam was to test the statute. -Then, the Court held that the state statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
-There was no rational reason for the different treatment of married and unmarried people.
-The right of privacy to be free of unwanted intrusions into the fundamental decision of whether to have children was the same for married and unmarried alike.
-The Court rejected appellee's argument that the distinction was health related, noting that unmarried persons had as great an interest in avoiding the spread of harmful diseases.

OUTCOME: The Court affirmed the circuit court's order vacating the district court's dismissal of appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

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