Griswold v. Connecticut

381 U.S. 479, 85 S. Ct. 1678 (1965)



Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of association contained in the penumbra of the First Amendment is one. The Third Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of soldiers in any house in time of peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fifth Amendment in its self-incrimination clause enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides that the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 


A Connecticut statute made it a crime for any person to use any drug or article to prevent conception. Appellant Griswold, the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and appellant Buxton, its medical director, a licensed physician, were convicted as accessories for giving married persons information and medical advice on how to prevent conception and, following examination, prescribing a contraceptive device or material for the wife's use. Appellants claimed that the accessory statute as applied violated the Fourteenth Amendment. An intermediate appellate court and the State's highest court affirmed the convictions.


Was the Connecticut statute that made it a crime for any person to use any drug or article to prevent conception unconstitutional?




The United States Supreme Court first held that as accessories, Griswold and Buxton 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.

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