100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Estelle Griswold

Estelle Griswold

The Right to Privacy

“The Sacred Precincts of the Marital Bedrooms”

Griswold v. Connecticut

381 U.S. 479 (1965)

One of the most intriguing decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1960s was sparked in large part by the passion and organizational leadership of a women's rights advocate named Estelle Griswold. Striking down a nineteenth-century Connecticut law banning contraception, the decision was the Court's watershed case granting constitutional status to the right of privacy.

The woman who lent her name to the birth control case was born Estelle Trebert in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1900. “Stelle,” as she was often called, was educated in the Hartford public schools. She wanted to attend college like many of her friends, but her parents had neither the money nor the desire to ...

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