Catherine Roraback

Catherine Roraback
Detail from an image of Catherine Roraback, attorney for Black Panther Ericka Huggins who is on trial in New Haven, sitting at her desk in her office Dec. 26, 1970 in New Haven – © AP Photo

Catherine G. Roraback (1920-2007)

A lawyer who successfully tried a number of high-profile cases in Connecticut (including the New Haven Black Panther murder trial of 1971), Catherine Roraback is perhaps most famous for her fight in favor of the constitutional right to privacy. Taking over her family’s practice in Canaan in 1955, Roraback challenged an 1879 Connecticut law that prohibited the prescription and use of contraceptives. In the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, Roraback successfully argued that the Connecticut contraceptive ban violated the right of marital privacy guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Her victory became the foundation for such important later decisions as Lawrence v. Texas and Roe v. Wade.

FEATURED

Estelle Griswold (L), medical advisor and executive director of the Planned Parenthood Clinic in New Haven, and Mrs. Ernest Jahncke, president of Parenthood League of Connecticut, Inc., flash a victory sign as a result of the court's decision that Connecticut's birth control law was unconstitutional - © 2015 Bettmann/Corbis / Associated Press

Taking on the State: Griswold v. Connecticut

In the 1960s, Hartford native Estelle Griswold challenged Connecticut's restrictive birth control law. Her argument for the right to privacy made it all the way to the Supreme Court. …[more]

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Websites

“Catherine Roraback.” Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, 2014. Link.
“Griswold V. Connecticut - 381 U.S. 479.” Cornell University Law School | Legal Information Institute, 2014. Link.

Video

YouTube -Catherine Roraback Tribute Film. Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, 2014. Link.

Documents

“Finding Aid to the Catherine Roraback Collection of Ericka Huggins Papers.” Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 2016. Link.

Books

Johnson, John W. Griswold V. Connecticut: Birth Control and the Constitutional Right of Privacy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2005.

Articles

Hevesi, Dennis. “Catherine Roraback, 87, Influential Lawyer, Dies.” The New York Times. October 20, 2007, sec. New York Region. Link.
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