"If the right to privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or begat a child."
Writing for the court, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972)
Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life, has indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages.Brennan, William J., Jr.
Our Nation has had a long and unfortunate history of sex discrimination, rationalized by an attitude of 'romantic paternalism' which, in practical effect, put women, not on a pedestal, but in a cage.Brennan, William J., Jr.
More fundamentally, however, the answer to petitioners' objection is that there can be no impairment of executive power, whether on the state or federal level, where actions pursuant to that power are impermissible under the Constitution. Where there is no power, there can be no impairment of power.Brennan, William J., Jr.
The genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs.Brennan, William J., Jr.
No doubt, there are those who believe that judges-and particularly dissenting judges-write to hear themselves say, as it were, I I I. And no doubt, there are also those who believe that judges are, like Joan Didion, primarily engaged in the writing of fiction. I cannot agree with either of those propositions.Brennan, William J., Jr.
The Constitution was framed fundamentally as a bulwark against governmental power, and preventing the arbitrary administration of punishment is a basic ideal of any society that purports to be governed by the rule of law.Brennan, William J., Jr.
If our free society is to endure, and I know it will, those who govern must recognize that the Framers of the Constitution limited their power in order to preserve human dignity and the air of freedom which is our proudest heritage.Brennan, William J., Jr.
We consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.Brennan, William J., Jr.