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Family Law
University of Toledo School of Law
Kaczorowski, Robert J.




Privacy/Constitutional Issues

What is a Family?

Formal Definitions:

Biological Ties (involuntary relationships)

Vertical (parent/child)
Horizontal (brother/sister)

Legal Ties (voluntary relationships)

Vertical (adoption)
Horizontal (marriage)

Functional Definitions:

Social Ties

Quality of Ties

Dependent Relationships

Unilateral (child dependent on parent)
Bilateral (husband and wife dependent on each other)

Sexual Relationships

Quantity of Ties

Length of Relationship
Number of interactions

What are the state’s interests in regulating families?

Public Morality
Public Health (Both physical and mental)
Protecting the family unit
Protecting potential life
Encourage certain family structures

What is the right to privacy?

Type of Right

Spatial (the right to have your own private space)
Decisional (the right to make your own decisions)
Relational (the right to have a relationship with whomever you want)
Etc. (it could be anything else since it has never been defined. Includes birth control, abortion, right to withdraw life support)

Scope of Right

Raising children (education and in general)


Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

Appellants gave information to married couples on how to prevent pregnancy, in violation of state law in CT (as accessories).
The USSC held:

A husband and wife have a right to privacy

Under the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause

CT’s law infringes upon the marriage relationship and is therefore unconstitutional because there is a right to privacy for married couples. By enforcing this law, it allows CT to enter the “sacred bedroom” of a married couple and regulate what they do in the “bedroom”.
Because contraception is a part of marriage privacy, then it is a fundamental right and the state must defeat a strict scrutiny test. Since it cannot, then the statute must be found unconstitutional
Spatial/Relational Right
Conviction of Appellants overturned.

14th Amendment


Fundamental Rights (therefore, STRICT SCRUTINY TEST)


Mere Rights (therefore, RATIONALLY RELATED TEST)

Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972)

Baird was convicted of distributing co

e losing business b/c of the act
Society argues that parents have the right to choose how to educate there children
Court agrees
Holds that Due Process Clause is violated by this act b/c the state’s interest does not rationally relate to the result achieved by the statute

Union Pacific v. Botsford

Individual’s right to control own body

Meyer v. Nebraska

Parent’s Right to raise children

Pierce v. Society of Sisters

Parents right to raise children

Buck v. Bell

Declines to find violation of right; allows sterilization

Skinner v. Oklahoma

Suggest Individual’s have the right to procreate (but this case dealt with equal protection, so it does not overturn Buck v. Bell)


Roe v. Wade

o Texas Statute makes it a felony to have or assist in an abortion
· Roe wanted an abortion, but couldn’t b/c of the statute, so she did not. She brings this challenge of the constitutionality of the statute.
· The Court Held:
Looking at history in several Western Civilizations, it appears that the right to privacy is a fundamental right that is broad enough to