The Court's decision in Griswold
was a watershed
, and remains one of the most controversial decisions handed down by the Supreme Court in modern history
. In Griswold
, the court struck down a Connecticut statute outlawing the use and prescription
of contraception, holding that it violated a "right to privacy" that had never before been recognised as such.
Lacking a single specific constitutional provision upon which such a right to privacy could be based, the Court relied on the "penumbras", and "emanations," Griswold
, at 484, of the provisions of the First, Third
, and Ninth
Amendments (incorporated via the Fourteenth
) to the U.S. Constitution, each of which created a particular area free from governmental intrusion. Id.,
at 481, 484.
is also a showcase of formulations and arguments that only a Supreme Court Justice
could ever get away with. While "shock[ing] the conscience," Rochin v. California
, 342 U.S. 165, 172, "ordered liberty," Palko v. Connecticut
, 302 U.S. 319, 325, "fundamental fairness," and "shocking to the universal sense of justice," Betts v. Brady
, 316 U.S. 455, 462, have at least a slight judicial je ne sais quoi
to them, I doubt anyone could have said with a straight face that "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras," Griswold,
at 484, without being somewhat worried about being laughed out of court or cruficied
by a Kingsfield
-esque law professor
GRISWOLD v. CONNECTICUT,
381 U.S. 479
GRISWOLD ET AL. v. CONNECTICUT.
APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF ERRORS OF CONNECTICUT
Argued March 29-30, 1965.
Decided June 7, 1965.
s, the Executive Director
of the Planned Parenthood
League of Connecticut
, and its medical director, a licensed physician
, were convict
ed 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. A Connecticut statute
makes it a crime
for any person to use any drug
or article to prevent conception. Appellants claimed that the accessory statute as applied violated the Fourteenth Amendment
. An intermediate appellate court and the State's highest court affirmed the judgment. Held
1. Appellants have standing to assert the constitutional rights of the married people. Tileston v. Ullman, 318 U.S. 44 , distinguished. P. 481.
2. The Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy which is within the penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights. Pp. 481-486.
151 Conn. 544, 200 A. 2d 479, reversed.
Thomas I. Emerson argued the cause for appellants. With him on the brief
s was Catherine G. Roraback.
Joseph B. Clark argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief was Julius Maretz.
Briefs of amici curiae
, urging reversal, were filed by Whitney North Seymour and Eleanor M. Fox for Dr. John M. Adams et al.; by Morris L. Ernst, Harriet F. Pilpel and Nancy F. Wechsler for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.; by Alfred L. Scanlon for the Catholic
Council on Civil Liberties
, and by Rhoda H. Karpatkin, Melvin L. Wulf and Jerome E. Caplan for the American Civil Liberties Union et al
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
, and medical advice
to married persons as to the means of preventing conception. They examined the wife and prescribed the best contraceptive device or material for her use. Fees were usually charged, although some couples were serviced free.
The statutes whose constitutional
ity 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 .
We think that appellants have standing to raise the constitutional 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 of standing should be strict, lest the standards of "case or controversy
" in Article III
of the Constitution
become blurred. Here those doubts 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.
This case is more akin to Truax v. Raich
, 239 U.S. 33 , where an employee
was permitted to assert the rights of his employer
; to Pierce v. Society of Sisters
, 268 U.S. 510 , where the owners of private schools were entitled to assert the rights of potential pupil
s and their parents; and to Barrows v. Jackson
, 346 U.S. 249 , where a white defendant, party to a racially restrictive covenant
, who was being sued for damages by the covenantor
s because she had conveyed
her property to Negroes, was allowed to raise the issue that enforcement of the covenant violated the rights of prospective Negro purchasers to equal protection
, although no Negro was a party to the suit. And see Meyer v. Nebraska
, 262 U.S. 390 ; Adler v. Board of Education
, 342 U.S. 485 ; NAACP v. Alabama
, 357 U.S. 449 ; NAACP v. Button
, 371 U.S. 415 . The rights of husband and wife, pressed here, are likely to be dilute
d or adversely affected unless those rights are considered in a suit involving those who have this kind of confidential
relation to them.
Coming to the merits
, we are met with a wide range of questions that implicate the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment. Overtones
of some arguments suggest that Lochner v. New York
, 198 U.S. 45 , should be our guide. But we decline that invitation as we did in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
, 300 U.S. 379 ; Olsen v. Nebraska
, 313 U.S. 236 ; Lincoln Union v. Northwestern Co.
, 335 U.S. 525 ; Williamson v. Lee Optical Co.
, 348 U.S. 483 ; Giboney v. Empire Storage Co.
, 336 U.S. 490 . We do not sit as a super-legislature
to determine the wisdom, need, and propriety of laws that touch economic
affairs, or social conditions
. This law, however, operates directly on an intimate
relation of husband and wife and their physician's role in one aspect of that relation.
of people is not mentioned in the Constitution nor in the Bill of Rights. The right to educate a child in a school of the parents' choice - whether public or private or parochial - is also not mentioned. Nor is the right to study any particular subject or any foreign language
. Yet the First Amendment
has been construed to include certain of those rights.
By Pierce v. Society of Sisters, supra
, the right to educate one's children as one chooses is made applicable to the States by the force of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. By Meyer v. Nebraska, supra
, the same dignity is given the right to study the German
language in a private school. In other words, the State
may not, consistently with the spirit of the First Amendment, contract the spectrum
of available knowledge
. The right of freedom of speech
and press includes not only the right to utter or to print, but the right to distribute, the right to receive, the right to read (Martin v. Struthers
, 319 U.S. 141, 143 ) and freedom of inquiry
, freedom of thought
, and freedom to teach (see Wieman v. Updegraff
, 344 U.S. 183, 195 ) - indeed the freedom of the entire university community
.Sweezy v. New Hampshire
, 354 U.S. 234, 249 -250, 261-263; Barenblatt v. United States
, 360 U.S. 109, 112 ; Baggett v. Bullitt
, 377 U.S. 360, 369 . Without those peripheral
rights the specific rights would be less secure. And so we reaffirm the principle of the Pierce
and the Meyer
In NAACP v. Alabama
, 357 U.S. 449, 462 , we protected the "freedom to associate and privacy in one's associations," noting that freedom of association was a peripheral First Amendment right. Disclosure of membership lists of a constitutionally valid
association, we held, was invalid "as entailing the likelihood of a substantial restraint upon the exercise by petitioner
's members of their right to freedom of association." Ibid.
In other words, the First Amendment has a penumbra
where privacy is protected from governmental intrusion
. In like context, we have protected forms of "association" that are not political
in the customary sense but pertain to the social
, and economic benefit of the members. NAACP v. Button
, 371 U.S. 415, 430 -431. In Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners
, 353 U.S. 232 , we held it not permissible to bar a lawyer
from practice, because he had once been a member of the Communist Party
. The man's "association with that Party" was not shown to be "anything more than a political faith
in a political party" (id.
, at 244) and was not action of a kind proving bad moral
, at 245-246.
Those cases involved more than the "right of assembly" - a right that extends to all irrespective of their race or ideology. De Jonge v. Oregon
, 299 U.S. 353 . The right of "association," like the right of belief (Board of Education v. Barnette
, 319 U.S. 624 ), is more than the right to attend a meeting; it includes the right to express one's attitudes or philosophies
by membership in a group or by affiliation
with it or by other lawful means. Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion
; and while it is not expressly included in the First Amendment its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully meaningful.
The foregoing cases suggest that specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. See Poe v. Ullman
, 367 U.S. 497, 516 -522 (dissenting opinion). Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of association contained in the penumbra of the First Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment
in its prohibition against the quartering of soldier
s "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: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
The Fourth and Fifth Amendments were described in Boyd v. United States
, 116 U.S. 616, 630 , as protection against all governmental invasions "of the sanctity
of a man's home and the privacies of life." * We recently referred in Mapp v. Ohio
, 367 U.S. 643, 656 , to the Fourth Amendment as creating a "right to privacy, no less important than any other right carefully and particularly reserved to the people." See Beaney, The Constitutional Right to Privacy
, 1962 Sup. Ct. Rev. 212; Griswold, The Right to be Let Alone
, 55 Nw. U. L. Rev. 216 (1960).
We have had many controversies over these penumbral rights of "privacy and repose." See, e. g., Breard v. Alexandria
, 341 U.S. 622, 626 , 644; Public Utilities Comm'n v. Pollak
, 343 U.S. 451 ; Monroe v. Pape
, 365 U.S. 167 ; Lanza v. New York
, 370 U.S. 139 ; Frank v. Maryland
, 359 U.S. 360 ; Skinner v. Oklahoma
, 316 U.S. 535, 541 . These cases bear witness that the right of privacy which presses for recognition here is a legitimate one.
The present case, then, concerns a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees. And it concerns a law which, in forbidding the use of contraceptives rather than regulating their manufacture or sale, seeks to achieve its goals by means having a maximum destructive impact upon that relationship. Such a law cannot stand in light of the familiar principle, so often applied by this Court, that a "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." NAACP v. Alabama
, 377 U.S. 288, 307 . Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.
We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights - older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse
, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony
in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty
, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble
a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions.
The Court said in full about this right of privacy:
"The principles laid down in this opinion [by Lord Camden in Entick v. Carrington, 19 How. St. Tr. 1029] affect the very essence of constitutional liberty and security. They reach farther than the concrete form of the case then before the court, with its adventitious circumstances; they apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employes of the sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers, that constitutes the essence of the offence; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty and private property, where that right has never been forfeited by his conviction of some public offence, - it is the invasion of this sacred right which underlies and constitutes the essence of Lord Camden's judgment. Breaking into a house and opening boxes and drawers are circumstances of aggravation; but any forcible and compulsory extortion of a man's own testimony or of his private papers to be used as evidence to convict him of crime or to forfeit his goods, is within the condemnation of that judgment. In this regard the Fourth and Fifth Amendments run almost into each other." 116 U.S., at 630 .
MR. JUSTICE GOLDBERG
, whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE
and MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN
I agree with the Court that Connecticut's birth-control
law unconstitutionally intrudes upon the right of marital privacy, and I join in its opinion and judgment. Although I have not accepted the view that "due process
" as used in the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates all of the first eight Amendments (see my concurring opinion in Pointer v. Texas
, 380 U.S. 400, 410 , and the dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN in Cohen v. Hurley
, 366 U.S. 117, 154 ), I do agree that the concept of liberty protects those personal rights that are fundamental, and is not confined to the specific terms of the Bill of Rights. My conclusion that the concept of liberty is not so restricted and that it embraces the right of marital privacy though that right is not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution 1 is supported both by numerous decisions of this Court, referred to in the Court's opinion, and by the language and history of the Ninth Amendment. In reaching the conclusion that the right of marital privacy is protected, as being within the protected penumbra of specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights, the Court refers to the Ninth Amendment, ante
, at 484. I add these words to emphasize the relevance of that Amendment to the Court's holding.
The Court stated many years ago that the Due Process Clause protects those liberties that are "so rooted in the tradition
s and conscience
of our people as to be ranked as fundamental." Snyder v. Massachusetts
, 291 U.S. 97, 105 . In Gitlow v. New York
, 268 U.S. 652, 666 , the Court said:
"For present purposes we may and do assume that freedom of speech and of the press - which are protected by the First Amendment from abridgment by Congress - are among the fundamental personal rights and `liberties' protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States." (Emphasis added.)
And, in Meyer v. Nebraska
, 262 U.S. 390, 399 , the Court, referring to the Fourteenth Amendment, stated:
"While this Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also [for example,] the right . . . to marry, establish a home and bring up children . . . ."
This Court, in a series of decisions, has held that the Fourteenth Amendment absorbs and applies to the States those specifics of the first eight amendments which express fundamental personal rights. 2 The language and history of the Ninth Amendment reveal that the Framers of the Constitution believed that there are additional fundamental rights, protected from governmental infringement, which exist alongside those fundamental rights specifically mentioned in the first eight constitutional amendments.
The Ninth Amendment reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Amendment is almost entirely the work of James Madison
. It was introduced in Congress by him and passed the House
with little or no debate and virtually no change in language. It was proffered to quiet expressed fears that a bill of specifically enumerated rights 3 could not be sufficiently broad to cover all essential rights and that the specific mention of certain rights would be interpreted as a denial that others were protected. 4
In presenting the proposed Amendment, Madison said:
"It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution [the Ninth Amendment]." I Annals of Congress 439 (Gales and Seaton ed. 1834).
Mr. Justice Story
wrote of this argument against a bill of rights and the meaning of the Ninth Amendment:
"In regard to . . . [a] suggestion, that the affirmance of certain rights might disparage others, or might lead to argumentative implications in favor of other powers, it might be sufficient to say that such a course of reasoning could never be sustained upon any solid basis . . . . But a conclusive answer is, that such an attempt may be interdicted (as it has been) by a positive declaration in such a bill of rights that the enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." II Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 626-627 (5th ed. 1891).
He further stated, referring to the Ninth Amendment:
"This clause was manifestly introduced to prevent any perverse or ingenious misapplication of the well-known maxim, that an affirmation in particular cases implies a negation in all others; and, e converso, that a negation in particular cases implies an affirmation in all others." Id., at 651.
These statements of Madison and Story make clear that the Framers did not intend that the first eight amendments be construed to exhaust the basic and fundamental rights which the Constitution guaranteed to the people. 5
While this Court has had little occasion to interpret the Ninth Amendment, 6 "[i]t cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect." Marbury v. Madison
, 1 Cranch 137, 174. In interpreting the Constitution, "real effect should be given to all the words it uses." Myers v. United States
, 272 U.S. 52, 151 . The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution may be regarded by some as a recent discovery and may be forgotten by others, but since 1791 it has been a basic part of the Constitution which we are sworn to uphold. To hold that a right so basic and fundamental and so deep-rooted in our society as the right of privacy in marriage may be infringed because that right is not guaranteed in so many words by the first eight amendments to the Constitution is to ignore the Ninth Amendment and to give it no effect whatsoever. Moreover, a judicial construction
that this fundamental right is not protected by the Constitution because it is not mentioned in explicit terms by one of the first eight amendments or elsewhere in the Constitution would violate the Ninth Amendment, which specifically states that "[t]he enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." (Emphasis added.)
A dissenting opinion suggests that my interpretation of the Ninth Amendment somehow "broaden[s] the powers of this Court." Post
, at 520. With all due respect, I believe that it misses the import of what I am saying. I do not take the position of my Brother BLACK
in his dissent in Adamson v. California
, 332 U.S. 46, 68 , that the entire Bill of Rights is incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment, and I do not mean to imply that the Ninth Amendment is applied against the States by the Fourteenth. Nor do I mean to state that the Ninth Amendment constitutes an independent source of rights protected from infringement by either the States or the Federal Government. Rather, the Ninth Amendment shows a belief of the Constitution's authors that fundamental rights exist that are not expressly enumerated in the first eight amendments and an intent that the list of rights included there not be deemed exhaustive. As any student of this Court's opinions knows, this Court has held, often unanimously, that the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect certain fundamental personal liberties from abridgment by the Federal Government or the States. See, e. g., Bolling v. Sharpe
, 347 U.S. 497 ; Aptheker v. Secretary of State
, 378 U.S. 500 ; Kent v. Dulles
, 357 U.S. 116 ; Cantwell v. Connecticut
, 310 U.S. 296 ; NAACP v. Alabama
, 357 U.S. 449 ; Gideon v. Wainwright
, 372 U.S. 335 ; New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
, 376 U.S. 254 . The Ninth Amendment simply shows the intent of the Constitution's authors that other fundamental personal rights should not be denied such protection or disparaged in any other way simply because they are not specifically listed in the first eight constitutional amendments. I do not see how this broadens the authority of the Court; rather it serves to support what this Court has been doing in protecting fundamental rights.
Nor am I turning somersault
s with history in arguing that the Ninth Amendment is relevant in a case dealing with a State's infringement of a fundamental right. While the Ninth Amendment - and indeed the entire Bill of Rights - originally concerned restrictions upon federal power, the subsequently enacted Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the States as well from abridging fundamental personal liberties. And, the Ninth Amendment, in indicating that not all such liberties are specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments, is surely relevant in showing the existence of other fundamental personal rights, now protected from state, as well as federal, infringement. In sum, the Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the "liberty" protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments. Cf. United Public Workers v. Mitchell
, 330 U.S. 75, 94 -95.
In determining which rights are fundamental, judges are not left at large to decide cases in light of their personal and private notions. Rather, they must look to the "traditions and [collective] conscience of our people" to determine whether a principle is "so rooted [there] . . . as to be ranked as fundamental." Snyder v. Massachusetts
, 291 U.S. 97, 105 . The inquiry is whether a right involved "is of such a character that it cannot be denied without violating those `fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions' . . . ." Powell v. Alabama
, 287 U.S. 45, 67 . "Liberty" also "gains content from the emanations of . . . specific [constitutional] guarantees" and "from experience with the requirements of a free society." Poe v. Ullman
, 367 U.S. 497, 517 (dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS). 7
I agree fully with the Court that, applying these tests, the right of privacy is a fundamental personal right, emanating "from the totality of the constitutional scheme under which we live." Id., at 521. Mr. Justice Brandeis, dissenting in Olmstead v. United States
, 277 U.S. 438, 478 , comprehensively summarized the principles underlying the Constitution's guarantees of privacy:
"The protection guaranteed by the [Fourth and Fifth] Amendments is much broader in scope. The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."
The Connecticut statutes here involved deal with a particularly important and sensitive area of privacy - that of the marital relation and the marital home. This Court recognized in Meyer v. Nebraska, supra, that the right "to marry, establish a home and bring up children" was an essential part of the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. 262 U.S., at 399 . In Pierce v. Society of Sisters
, 268 U.S. 510 , the Court held unconstitutional an Oregon
Act which forbade parents from sending their children to private schools because such an act "unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control." 268 U.S., at 534 -535. As this Court said in Prince v. Massachusetts
, 321 U.S. 158 , at 166, the Meyer
decisions "have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter."
I agree with MR. JUSTICE HARLAN
's statement in his dissenting opinion in Poe v. Ullman
, 367 U.S. 497, 551 -552: "Certainly the safeguarding of the home does not follow merely from the sanctity of property rights. The home derives its pre-eminence as the seat of family life. And the integrity of that life is something so fundamental that it has been found to draw to its protection the principles of more than one explicitly granted Constitutional right. . . . Of this whole `private realm of family life' it is difficult to imagine what is more private or more intimate than a husband and wife's marital relations."
The entire fabric of the Constitution and the purposes that clearly underlie its specific guarantees demonstrate that the rights to marital privacy and to marry and raise a family are of similar order and magnitude as the fundamental rights specifically protected.
Although the Constitution does not speak in so many words of the right of privacy in marriage, I cannot believe that it offers these fundamental rights no protection. The fact that no particular provision of the Constitution explicitly forbids the State from disrupting the traditional relation of the family - a relation as old and as fundamental as our entire civilization - surely does not show that the Government was meant to have the power to do so. Rather, as the Ninth Amendment expressly recognizes, there are fundamental personal rights such as this one, which are protected from abridgment by the Government though not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
My Brother STEWART
, while characterizing the Connecticut birth control law as "an uncommonly silly law," post
, at 527, would nevertheless let it stand on the ground that it is not for the courts to "`substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies, who are elected to pass laws.'" Post
, at 528. Elsewhere, I have stated that "[w]hile I quite agree with Mr. Justice Brandeis that . . . `a . . . State may . . . serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments,' New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann
, 285 U.S. 262, 280 , 311 (dissenting opinion), I do not believe that this includes the power to experiment with the fundamental liberties of citizens . . . ." 8 The vice of the dissenters' views is that it would permit such experimentation by the States in the area of the fundamental personal rights of its citizens. I cannot agree that the Constitution grants such power either to the States or to the Federal Government.
The logic of the dissents would sanction federal or state legislation that seems to me even more plainly unconstitutional than the statute before us. Surely the Government, absent a showing of a compelling subordinating state interest
, could not decree
that all husbands and wives must be sterilized after two children have been born to them. Yet by their reasoning such an invasion of marital privacy would not be subject to constitutional challenge because, while it might be "silly," no provision of the Constitution specifically prevents the Government from curtailing the marital right to bear children and raise a family. While it may shock some of my Brethren that the Court today holds that the Constitution protects the right of marital privacy, in my view it is far more shocking to believe that the personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution does not include protection against such totalitarian limitation of family size, which is at complete variance with our constitutional concepts. Yet, if upon a showing of a slender basis of rationality, a law outlawing voluntary birth control by married persons is valid, then, by the same reasoning, a law requiring compulsory birth control also would seem to be valid. In my view, however, both types of law would unjustifiably intrude upon rights of marital privacy which are constitutionally protected.
In a long series of cases this Court has held that where fundamental personal liberties are involved, they may not be abridged by the States simply on a showing that a regulatory statute has some rational relationship to the effectuation of a proper state purpose. "Where there is a significant encroachment upon personal liberty, the State may prevail only upon showing a subordinating interest which is compelling," Bates v. Little Rock
, 361 U.S. 516, 524 . The law must be shown "necessary, and not merely rationally related, to the accomplishment of a permissible state policy." McLaughlin v. Florida
, 379 U.S. 184, 196 . See Schneider v. Irvington
, 308 U.S. 147, 161 .
Although the Connecticut birth-control law obviously encroaches upon a fundamental personal liberty, the State does not show that the law serves any "subordinating [state] interest which is compelling" or that it is "necessary . . . to the accomplishment of a permissible state policy." The State, at most, argues that there is some rational relation between this statute and what is admittedly a legitimate subject of state concern - the discouraging of extra-marital relations. It says that preventing the use of birth-control devices by married persons helps prevent the indulgence by some in such extramarital relations. The rationality
of this justification is dubious, particularly in light of the admitted widespread availability to all persons in the State of Connecticut, unmarried as well as married, of birth-control devices for the prevention of disease, as distinguished from the prevention of conception, see Tileston v. Ullman
, 129 Conn. 84, 26 A. 2d 582. But, in any event, it is clear that the state interest in safeguarding marital fidelity can be served by a more discriminately tailored statute, which does not, like the present one, sweep unnecessarily broadly, reaching far beyond the evil sought to be dealt with and intruding upon the privacy of all married couples. See Aptheker v. Secretary of State
, 378 U.S. 500, 514 ; NAACP v. Alabama
, 377 U.S. 288, 307 -308; McLaughlin v. Florida, supra
, at 196. Here, as elsewhere, where, "[p]recision of regulation must be the touchstone
in an area so closely touching our most precious freedoms." NAACP v. Button
, 371 U.S. 415, 438 . The State of Connecticut
does have statutes, the constitutionality of which is beyond doubt, which prohibit adultery
. See Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-218, 53-219 et seq
. These statutes demonstrate that means for achieving the same basic purpose of protecting marital fidelity
are available to Connecticut without the need to "invade the area of protected freedoms." NAACP v. Alabama, supra
, at 307. See McLaughlin v. Florida, supra
, at 196.
Finally, it should be said of the Court's holding today that it in no way interferes with a State's proper regulation of sexual promiscuity
or misconduct. As my Brother HARLAN so well stated in his dissenting opinion in Poe v. Ullman, supra
, at 553.
"Adultery, homosexuality and the like are sexual intimacies which the State forbids . . . but the intimacy of husband and wife is necessarily an essential and accepted feature of the institution of marriage, an institution which the State not only must allow, but which always and in every age it has fostered and protected. It is one thing when the State exerts its power either to forbid extra-marital sexuality . . . or to say who may marry, but it is quite another when, having acknowledged a marriage and the intimacies inherent in it, it undertakes to regulate by means of the criminal law the details of that intimacy."
In sum, I believe that the right of privacy in the marital relation is fundamental and basic - a personal right "retained by the people" within the meaning of the Ninth Amendment. Connecticut cannot constitutionally abridge this fundamental right, which is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment from infringement by the States. I agree with the Court that petitioners' convictions must therefore be reversed.
My Brother STEWART dissents on the ground that he "can find no . . . general right of privacy in the Bill of Rights, in any other part of the Constitution, or in any case ever before decided by this Court." Post
, at 530. He would require a more explicit guarantee than the one which the Court derives from several constitutional amendments. This Court, however, has never held that the Bill of Rights or the Fourteenth Amendment protects only those rights that the Constitution specifically mentions by name. See, e. g., Bolling v. Sharpe
, 347 U.S. 497 ; Aptheker v. Secretary of State
, 378 U.S. 500 ; Kent v. Dulles
, 357 U.S. 116 ; Carrington v. Rash
, 380 U.S. 89, 96 ; Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners
, 353 U.S. 232 ; NAACP v. Alabama
, 360 U.S. 240 ; Pierce v. Society of Sisters
, 268 U.S. 510 ; Meyer v. Nebraska
, 262 U.S. 390 . To the contrary, this Court, for example, in Bolling v. Sharpe, supra
, while recognizing that the Fifth Amendment does not contain the "explicit safeguard" of an equal protection clause, id.
, at 499, nevertheless derived an equal protection principle from that Amendment's Due Process Clause. And in Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners
, supra, the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment protects from arbitrary state action the right to pursue an occupation, such as the practice of law.
See, e. g., Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Chicago
, 166 U.S. 226 ; Gitlow v. New York, supra; Cantwell v. Connecticut
, 310 U.S. 296 ; Wolf v. Colorado
, 338 U.S. 25 ; Robinson v. California
, 370 U.S. 660 ; Gideon v. Wainwright
, 372 U.S. 335 ; Malloy v. Hogan
, 378 U.S. 1 ; Pointer v. Texas, supra; Griffin v. California
, 380 U.S. 609 .
Madison himself had previously pointed out the dangers of inaccuracy resulting from the fact that "no language is so copious
as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea." The Federalist
, No. 37 (Cooke ed. 1961), at 236.
Footnote 4 Alexander Hamilton
was opposed to a bill of rights on the ground that it was unnecessary because the Federal Government was a government of delegated powers and it was not granted the power to intrude upon fundamental personal rights. The Federalist
, No. 84 (Cooke ed. 1961), at 578-579. He also argued,
"I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colourable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power." Id., at 579.
The Ninth Amendment and the Tenth Amendment
, which provides, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," were apparently also designed in part to meet the above-quoted argument of Hamilton.
The Tenth Amendment similarly made clear that the States and the people retained all those powers not expressly delegated to the Federal Government.
This Amendment has been referred to as "The Forgotten Ninth Amendment," in a book with that title by Bennett B. Patterson
(1955). Other commentary on the Ninth Amendment includes Redlich, Are There "Certain Rights . . . Retained by the People"?
37 N. Y. U. L. Rev. 787 (1962), and Kelsey, The Ninth Amendment of the Federal Constitution
, 11 Ind. L. J. 309 (1936). As far as I am aware, until today this Court has referred to the Ninth Amendment only in United Public Workers v. Mitchell
, 330 U.S. 75, 94 -95; Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. TVA
, 306 U.S. 118, 143 -144; and Ashwander v. TVA
, 297 U.S. 288, 330 -331. See also Calder v. Bull
, 3 Dall. 386, 388; Loan Assn. v. Topeka
, 20 Wall. 655, 662-663.
In United Public Workers v. Mitchell, supra
, at 94-95, the Court stated: "We accept appellants' contention that the nature of political rights
reserved to the people by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments [is] involved. The right claimed as inviolate
may be stated as the right of a citizen to act as a party official or worker to further his own political views. Thus we have a measure of interference by the Hatch Act
and the Rules with what otherwise would be the freedom of the civil servant
under the First, Ninth and Tenth Amendments. And, if we look upon due process as a guarantee of freedom in those fields, there is a corresponding impairment of that right under the Fifth Amendment."
In light of the tests enunciated in these cases it cannot be said that a judge
's responsibility to determine whether a right is basic and fundamental in this sense vests him with unrestricted personal discretion
. In fact, a hesitancy to allow too broad a discretion was a substantial reason leading me to conclude in Pointer v. Texas, supra
, at 413-414, that those rights absorbed by the Fourteenth Amendment and applied to the States because they are fundamental apply with equal force and to the same extent against both federal and state governments. In Pointer
I said that the contrary view would require "this Court to make the extremely subjective
and excessively discretionary determination as to whether a practice, forbidden the Federal Government by a fundamental constitutional guarantee, is, as viewed in the factual circumstances surrounding each individual case, sufficiently repugnant to the notion of due process as to be forbidden the States." Id.
, at 413.
Footnote 8 Pointer v. Texas, supra
, at 413. See also the discussion of my Brother DOUGLAS. Poe v. Ullman, supra
, at 517-518 (dissenting opinion).
Continued at Griswold v. Connecticut - Concurrences and Dissents