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Family Law
University of Toledo School of Law
Knouse, Jessica



Privacy/Constitutional Issues

Intro to Family Law
·        What is a family?
o       What tests might you use to determine whether a particular group is a family?
·        What justifies the state’s power to regulate families?
nConsider the “state interests” cited in defense of family regulations.
n                   What limits the state’s power to regulate families?
nConsider the constitutional rights cited in challenging family regulations.

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 limits the States Regulations?
The constitutional right to privacy

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

raceptives to married persons but not to unmarried persons
USSC held:
Equal Protection is a mere right (therefore, Rationally Related test)
Finds that state has no purpose for preventing unmarried persons from getting contraception (when they allow married people to have it)
As such, the law is unconstitutional because it violates Equal Protection. (Note: Court states that Mass. Could probably ban all distribution, although they are not ruling on this, but since it bans only unmarried couples from receiving, then it is unconstitutional b/c it violates the Equal Protection Clause)
Decisional/Individual Right
Court avoided the Due Process arguments in order to prevent creating a Due Process right to contraception. By doing it under the EP clause, states can ban contraception to everyone or allow it to everyone.