Most Americans consider privacy one of their most prized rights, yet the word isn’t even mentioned in the United States Constitution. It wasn’t until June 7, 1965 that the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court invalidated the law, reasoning that certain guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. According to the Court, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments together create a new constitutional right, the right to privacy in marital relations. The case remains one of the Court’s most hotly debated rulings and led directly to an even more controversial decision in Roe v. Wade (1973).
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