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Case Digest on Griswold v. Connecticut (Constitutional Rights of Married People)

November 11, 2010


Facts: Appellants 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.  They said it violated the 14th Amendment, which speaks of no person shall be deprived of life, liberty without due process of law.

Issue:  (1) Whether appellant has standing to assert constitutional rights of married people; (2)Whether the Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy.

Held: USSC sustained that petitioners have legal standing.  Looking at the aspect of substantive due process, they held that the law operates directly on an intimate relation of husband and wife and their physician’s role in it.  Marriage is an association, and the courts protect this freedom to associate, as well as the privacy in association, far from governmental intrusion.  Principle: “Governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.”

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