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Catherine Roraback
October 24, 2007 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Catherine Roraback was the only woman in her class at Yale Law School. She was a founder of the Connecticut ACLU, and a president of the National Lawyers Guild. During her long career she defended labor organizers, immigrants, civil rights organizers, Black Panthers, and maybe most famously, Estelle Griswold before the United States Supreme Court in the case that legalized the distribution of birth control. She died this week at age 87.

One more bio and the NYT obit.
posted by serazin (19 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by SassHat at 10:00 PM on October 24, 2007


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posted by Ironmouth at 10:02 PM on October 24, 2007


She sounds amazing. A great life.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:07 PM on October 24, 2007


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posted by mumkin at 10:11 PM on October 24, 2007


To say that Griswold v. Connecticut "legalized the distribution of birth control" is both an overstatement and an understatement. It did strike down a state law banning the distribution of birth control, but only with respect to married people.

Like the article said, and more importantly from a jurisprudential standpoint, it revitalized the right to privacy (or created it from whole cloth, depending on who you ask). Roe v. Wade is its direct progeny.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:20 PM on October 24, 2007


Truly lived example of Noblesse Oblige.

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posted by lalochezia at 10:21 PM on October 24, 2007


Love those awesome pioneers. Reading about her life is deeply inspiring. May she rest in peace.

Another pioneering lawyer I knew as a child, was a close friend of my father's, Fanny Holtzman (At Fordham Law she was"the only girl in the night school class of 1923").

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posted by nickyskye at 10:32 PM on October 24, 2007


Inspiring life. Thank you for sharing!
posted by Titania at 11:00 PM on October 24, 2007


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:01 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


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posted by wendell at 11:10 PM on October 24, 2007


That's a damn shame. Especially a paltry week before the NLG's first convention, commemorating its 70th anniversary. She was to be honored as one of the women presidents of the Guild. Catherine Roraback has done some great work, as both an attorney and the president of the Guild. You can read some relevant history here, and even pitch in some chage in her name, if you're so inclined.

mea culpa: I'm not part of the Guild, but I've met some folks that do through work, and they really are lovely people.
posted by duende at 11:44 PM on October 24, 2007


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posted by finite at 11:46 PM on October 24, 2007


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posted by DarlingBri at 12:02 AM on October 25, 2007


Thank you for this. I've had a day of shock about how far we have to go, and it's nice to be inspired by people who fought even though they had it even worse.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:04 AM on October 25, 2007


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posted by Student of Man at 12:50 AM on October 25, 2007


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posted by mek at 3:42 AM on October 25, 2007


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posted by longdaysjourney at 8:06 AM on October 25, 2007


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We're losing our great activists.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:38 AM on October 25, 2007


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:20 PM on October 25, 2007


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