Friday, November 04, 2005

Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479

The case concerns a Connecticut law outlawing the use of contraceptives.
The Court struck down the law on the basis of their newly discovered right to privacy.
Justice Black dissented: “I do not to any extent whatever base my view that this Connecticut law is constitutional on a belief that the law is wise or that its policy is a good one. . . . There is no single one of the graphic and eloquent strictures and criticisms fired at the policy of this Connecticut law either by the Court’s opinion or by those of my concurring Brethren to which I cannot subscribe—except their conclusion that the evil qualities they see in the law make it unconstitutional. . . . The Constitution makers knew the need for change and provided for it. Amendments suggested by the people’s elected representatives can be submitted to the people or their selected agents for ratification. . . . I cannot rely on the Due Process Clause or the Ninth Amendment or any mysterious and uncertain natural law concept as a reason for striking down this state law.”

Justice Stewart also dissented: “I think this is an uncommonly silly law. As a practical matter, the law is obviously unenforceable . . . . As a philosophical matter, I believe the use of contraceptives in the relationship of marriage should be left to personal and private choice . . . . But we are not asked in this case to say whether we think this law is unwise, or even asinine. We are asked to hold that it violates the United States Constitution. And that I cannot do.”

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