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.

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Taking on the State: Griswold v. Connecticut

In the 1960s, Estelle Griswold challenged Connecticut's restrictive birth control law, making it all the way to the Supreme Court. …[more]

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Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. “Catherine Roraback,” 2017. Link.
Cornell University Law School | Legal Information Institute. “Griswold V. Connecticut - 381 U.S. 479,” 2014. Link.


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


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


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


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