Supreme Court-Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Essay Example

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Essay

Griswold v. Connecticut is a landmark case, which was heard and determined by the United States Supreme Court in 1965. The Supreme Court gave a ruling that the American Constitution protected one’s right to his/her privacy. This ruling was of the opinion that a ban on contraceptives use was in violation of the privacy of a married couple. The case arose out of a Connecticut law enacted in 1879, which was against the use of or encouragement of birth control. It was on these grounds that the Supreme Court had to invalidate the law. The state prohibited use of any drug as well as any medicinal instrument or article to prevent conception and violation attracted a fine of forty dollars or more, or imprisonment of sixty days or more.

Estelle Griswold (executive director-Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut) was arrested alongside Dr. C. Lee Buxton (Yale Medical School-professor and doctor). They were found guilty of being party to giving illegal contraception provision. Each was fined $100 but they appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court (of errors), which upheld the judgment[1]. This drove Buxton and Griswold to appeal to the United States’ Supreme Court with the review of the case, taking place in 1965.

Justice Douglas William wrote the decision, which received 7-2 vote, which stated that the Connecticut law went against right of couples to marital privacy thus was not enforceable on married people. Justice Douglas argued that the Bill of Rights though not mentioning this right directly (no specified constitution amendment), had a number of clauses that were thus opined[2]. The following amendments gave the decision taken by the Supreme Court of America some validity and weight. The First Amendment-freedom of speech, the Third Amendment disallowing troops to be quartered, the Fourth Amendment which is freedom from being seized or searched, the Fifth Amendment-freedom from incriminating oneself and many more. These coupled with the Fourteenth Amendment are creators of a generalized right to privacy, which should not be violated at any cost.

When it comes to how married couples behave, the right to privacy should be guarded jealously. Violation of this right at any time constitutes injustice and abuse of fundamental principles that denote justice as well as liberty. Use of contraceptives by a married couple is a fundamental right for them. This argument was strengthened by the panel of judges who acknowledged that there was no such provision but that the Bill of Rights was not exhaustive enough of human rights and freedoms. Despite the numerous differences in the judicial bench, majority voted in favor of Griswold as deserving her right to privacy.

The right of privacy in the Griswold case was ruled in favor of married couples, but was expanded over the following ten or so years. This ruling served as precedent in other subsequent cases or trials such as Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) which established that the right to privacy was substantive enough to a point that anyone could use contraceptives[3]. In another case, the state was barred from banning most abortions as in the case of Roe v. Wade (1973). The language used and the reasoning behind the Griswold case was used by A.J Potter Stewart in his concurring opinion supporting Roe v. Wade (1973). The interpretation of the law by the Supreme Court is thus seen as satisfactory and reliable even to this generation especially with set precedents.

References

Hartman, Gary R, Roy M Mersky and Cindy L Tate. Landmark Supreme Court cases. New York: Facts on File, 2004

[1] Hartman, Gary R, Roy M Mersky and Cindy L Tate. Landmark Supreme Court cases. New York: Facts on File, 2004

[2] Hartman, Gary R, Roy M Mersky and Cindy L Tate. Landmark Supreme Court cases. New York: Facts on File, 2004

[3] Hartman, Gary R, Roy M Mersky and Cindy L Tate. Landmark Supreme Court cases. New York: Facts on File, 2004

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