Tuesday, May 28, 2024

#149 / Griswold II

That is William O. Douglas in the image above. He is pictured without his judicial robes. For those who don't immediately recognize the name, Douglas was a Justice on the United States Supreme Court from 1939 to 1975, which means that Douglas holds "the record for longest continuous service on the Supreme Court."

Justice Douglas was the author of the majority opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut. I have mentioned the Griswold case before - and many times before, as a matter of fact. To review my earliest commentary on Griswold, click right here. The Griswold case is famous because it established our Constitutional "Right To Privacy." I taught a course at UCSC on the themes of "Privacy, Technology, And Freedom," so I necessarily became quite well acquainted with Griswold

There isn't, actually, any explicit "Right To Privacy" spelled out in the Bill of Rights, nor can such a "Right To Privacy" be located in any other place in the Constitution - at least not in so many words. Douglas, though, was able to discern how the Constitution does provide a "Right To Privacy," and a majority of the Supreme Court agreed with him. I certainly encourage you to read the decision.

Roe v. Wade, the case that established a Constitutional right to abortion - a case recently overturned by what might properly be called the "Trump Court" - was based on Griswold. Interestingly, though, Griswold didn't get into the abortion issue, at all. 

Griswold was a case about contraception. A Connecticut law made it illegal for married couples to use contraception. In Griswold, decided in 1965, a majority of the Supreme Court said that this legislation was inconsistent with our inherent right to privacy, a right that protects us from the over-extension of state power into our personal lives. Accordingly, neither the state nor the federal government can prohibit a person's right to use contraception.

I am writing about Griswold again, today, because of a statement recently made by our former president, Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has lately been quoted as saying that if he is reelected to the presidency he will consider how to ban the use (or some use) of contraception. Just to be clear, no such Executive Order, or law, would be Constitutional - unless, that is, the Supreme Court were willing to overrule the Griswold case, just the way that the Court overturned Roe v. Wade

Remember the title of that class I taught. "Privacy" is listed before "Freedom." Our personal "Freedom" is based, in a very considerable way, on our right to "Privacy." Take away our "Right To Privacy," and our individual "Freedom" can evaporate, right before our eyes. Want to have sex with your girlfriend, and not get her pregnant? Want to have sex with your boyfriend, and not get pregnant yourself? Well, how about a ban on birth control - which is what our former president is talking about?

That could never happen, right?

Well, I wouldn't be so sure, given what our former president says he thinks he might do - and given what the Supreme Court might do, with former president Trump's appointees wielding commanding power on the Court, and clearly ready to take their "legal" directions from what this former president says. 

Robert B. Hubbell, a well-regarded attorney who writes a daily blog called, "Today's Edition Newsletter," gives what is, I believe, very good advice. Click the link below to read Hubbell on: 

There is a lot at stake in this upcoming election. Believe me, the kind of "Freedom" that we take for granted is being directly challenged, politically. So, here's the remedy: "Organize" and vote. 

That's my advice!
Image Credits:
(2) - https://www.gapatton.net/2024/03/61-organize.html 

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