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Griswold v. Connecticut

Supreme Court of the United States

March 29, 1965, Argued ; June 7, 1965, Decided

No. 496

Opinion

 [*480]   [***512]   [**1679]  MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Appellant Griswold is Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut. Appellant Buxton is a licensed physician and a professor at the Yale Medical School who served as Medical Director for the League at its Center in New Haven -- a center open and operating from November 1 to November 10, 1961, when appellants were arrested.

They gave information, instruction, and medical advice to married persons as to the means of preventing conception. They examined the wife and prescribed [****3]  the best contraceptive device or material for her use. Fees were usually charged, although some couples were serviced free.

The statutes whose constitutionality is involved in this appeal are §§ 53-32 and 54-196 of the General Statutes of Connecticut (1958 rev.). The former provides:

"Any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception shall be fined not less than fifty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days nor more than one year or be both fined and imprisoned."

Section 54-196 provides:

"Any person who assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or commands another to commit any offense may be prosecuted and punished as if he were the principal offender."

The appellants were found guilty as accessories and fined $ 100 each, against the claim that the accessory statute as so applied violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Appellate Division of the Circuit Court affirmed. The Supreme Court of Errors affirmed that judgment. 151 Conn. 544, 200 A. 2d 479. We noted probable jurisdiction. 379 U.S. 926.

 [*481]   We think that appellants have standing to raise the constitutional  [****4]  rights of the married people with whom they had a professional relationship. Tileston v. Ullman, 318 U.S. 44, is different, for there the plaintiff seeking to represent others asked for a declaratory judgment. In that situation we thought that the requirements  [***513]  of standing should be strict, lest the standards of "case or controversy" in Article III of the Constitution become blurred. Here those doubts  [**1680]  are removed by reason of a criminal conviction for serving married couples in violation of an aiding-and-abetting statute. Certainly ] the accessory should have standing to assert that the offense which he is charged with assisting is not, or cannot constitutionally be, a crime.

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381 U.S. 479 *; 85 S. Ct. 1678 **; 14 L. Ed. 2d 510 ***; 1965 U.S. LEXIS 2282 ****

GRISWOLD ET AL. v. CONNECTICUT

Prior History:  [****1]  APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF ERRORS OF CONNECTICUT.

Disposition:  151 Conn. 544, 200 A. 2d 479, reversed.

CORE TERMS

privacy, married, marital, contraceptives, invalidate, infringement, enumeration, abridgment, marriage, forbids, formula, disparage, sexual, ban, birth-control, extra-marital, capricious, conscience, anti-use, seizures, elected, unwise, wisdom, birth, join, subordinating, intimacies, penumbra, couples, invade

Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, General Overview, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Elements, Criminal Law & Procedure, Accessories, Aiding & Abetting, Preliminary Considerations, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom of Speech, Scope, Bill of Rights, State Application, Freedom of Association, Substantive Due Process, Privacy, Evidence, Admissibility, Character Evidence, Fundamental Rights, Search & Seizure, Quartering of Soldiers, Procedural Due Process, Self-Incrimination Privilege, Unenumerated Rights, Personal Decisions, Environmental Law, Land Use & Zoning, Constitutional Limits